Spring has sprung
I think it’s safe to assume that winter has finally left (don’t look at me like that – we saw snow as recently as mid-April). Our crocuses and other bulbs, along with the deciduous shrubs and the raspberry canes, are thumbing their figurative noses at the chill that’s lingering and pretending the bright sun is actually doing something.
The chives are always the first to pop up. While the oregano and thyme hold back, demanding more heat than the world around them is giving right now, the chives are up and ready to party. My daughter snacks on them whenever she’s outside, so it’s good that they’re so willingly prolific. She spends much of early spring stinking of their oniony goodness.
Chive bread was a natural progression
I tried herbed bread with cottage cheese not long after I got married and received my first bread machine (it was the late 90’s and they were quite popular). Cottage Cheese Dill Bread was the loaf, and not only did I make it often, it also inspired friends to buy a bread machine of their own, just to make it. I actually still have a bread machine. I really need to sell it. I never use it. I’ve gone back to kneading dough by hand (with a little help from my Kitchen Aid). I don’t find it to be much work, and the results, in my mind, are superior.
Inspired by that recipe and the chives that are demanding to not be ignored, I decided to make this bread to be part of a light, simple supper of fresh veggies, sliced meats and cheese. I punched up the chive flavour by adding a little garlic powder. This is also excellent when studded with crispy bacon (but really, what isn’t?) And obviously you can add whatever you like in place of the chives. Dill, thyme, basil and chopped sun dried tomato, sage (go easy with it)…. All good.
Cottage Cheese and Chive Bread
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon neutral oil (I use grapeseed)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup cottage cheese
1 tablespoon sugar
10-15 fresh chives, snipped into small bits
2 -3 cups all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, combine the oil, salt, garlic powder, cottage cheese, sugar and egg and let it all come to room temperature.
Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let it get foamy. Stir in the cottage cheese mixture.
Gradually add the flour, until a stiff dough forms (easier in a stand mixer). I used just under 2 1/2 cups, plus a little more for kneading by hand. Knead the dough whichever way you prefer, until you get a smooth ball. Turn it around in an oiled bowl, cover it and let it rise for an hour or so, or until doubled. If you didn’t let your cottage cheese mixture warm up, it may take longer (yes, I’m speaking from experience – mine took about 2 hours). Plus, it’s a fairly dense dough, so don’t expect a light, spongy puff.
Punch down the dough and put in a well buttered pan (loaf or cake). Or leave it to rise on a cookie sheet sprinkled with a little cornmeal. Cover it again and let it rise 30 minutes to an hour (we had to go out, so mine rose for an hour).
While it’s rising , preheat the oven to 350F.
Bake the bread for about 40 minutes.
You can brush the top with butter when it comes out, for a softer crust. I do sometimes. Ideally you should let it rest a bit before cutting into it. I do, sometimes.
Yield: One loaf