Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Cottage Cheese Bread From The Czarina

Something about fall brings out my inner baker.   I've made this bread dozens of times, starting when my kids were little, and it's always been a favorite.

I got this recipe from an old Russian nurse I worked with years ago.   Actually I was friends with her daughter- in -law who was not a fan of her mother -in- law at all.  She called her "The  Czarina";  oddly enough, it wasn't a term of endearment.  For some reason, The Czarina and I hit it off, even thought she was old enough to be my grandmother.   One day she brought in a loaf of bread made from her "secret recipe" that she refused to share with her family.  I begged her for the recipe.  My rationale, which she bought, was that since I wasn't family, her status as baker of the family's favorite bread was safe.   

The problem was that there really wasn't a recipe.  She told me about handfuls of flour, bits of sugar, a nub of butter  - none of which helped a novice baker.  I tried a few versions based on her directions, brought them in for her to try, but she kept saying they weren't quite right.   Then I finally got it .  She gave me a smothering bear hug and pronounced my bread perfect.

Since I'm assuming The Czarina has gone on to her reward,  it's probably safe to share the recipe.

Cottage Cheese Bread

Makes 1 loaf - recipe can easily be doubled

Warm on low temperature in microwave just to melt butter, then let cool to room temperature:
1 cup cottage cheese ( can use full fat or even fat free)
2 Tblsp  butter

Combine and let rise till bubbly:
1 package dry yeast
2 Tblsp warm water
1 tsp sugar

Mix cottage cheese and yeast mixtures, then add and mix well.:
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp sugar
1 egg , beaten (room temperature)

3 1/2 cups flour (approximately)

Knead by hand or mixer with bread hook for several minutes.  Dough should be soft but not sticky.
Place in greased bowl, cover with towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.  Then punch down, and shape into loaf (or round) and let rise again (covered as before) in greased loaf pan (or round casserole dish) until doubled.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.   
Let rest in pan a few minutes, then cold on baking rack.

I've made all kinds of variations to this basic recipe - substituted whole wheat flour or white wheat flour  , added cinnamon, nuts and raisins - all good.

The bread has a nice soft crumb and toasts beautifully.  The cottage cheese adds a good hit of protein to a toast and jam breakfast.

Приятного аппетита!   

Google says that means "Bon appetit" in Russian.   Hope it does!

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I'd ever heard the full story (with the testing of multiple versions) before - what a good one! :)


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