This amazing bread won an award in 2007. Recipe is presented first, story after.
12 ounces lukewarm water
2 ½ teaspoons instant yeast or active dry yeast
15 ounces (approximately 3 cups) unbleached flour (you may need more or less depending on dough texture)
3 tablespoons powdered milk
2 ounces butter, melted
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill weed, or 1 ½ teaspoons dried dill weed
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika (use hot paprika if you like extra spice)
1 teaspoon salt
5 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
2 green onions (scallions), sliced thin, including most of the green part
1. Stir together the water, yeast, and one cup of the flour. Let sit until the yeast bubbles – this may take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on how cold the room is.
2. Add the following ingredients: powdered milk, butter, egg, dill, paprika, salt, cheese, and mustard. Whisk in another cup of flour. Keep adding flour, half a cup at a time, to make a soft dough. Once the dough holds together, knead in the scallions.
3. Keep kneading and adding flour gradually on a lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth, elastic, and tacky like a post-it note, about 5 minutes. Don't add too much flour or the dough will be too stiff and you'll end up with dry bread.
4. Shape the dough into a boule, and place it into a greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.
5. When the dough has doubled, gently deflate it by doing a business-letter turn, and shape it into a boule again. Return it to the greased bowl for a second rise. At this point, it can rise at room temperature again for about 1 hour until doubled in size OR it can rise overnight in the refrigerator. If refrigerating overnight, check the dough after an hour or two in the refrigerator and gently do a business-letter turn on it so that it doesn’t over-rise. Let the overnight-refrigerated dough warm up for an hour or so before moving on to the next step.
6. Shape the dough into a loaf, and place in a greased 8 x 4 inch loaf pan. (You can also shape it into individual rolls. See notes below.) Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let rise until the highest point of the loaf is 1 inch above the sides of the pan (this will take longer to achieve if the dough had been refrigerated).
7. Bake in a preheated oven, 350 degrees F for 45 to 55 minutes. If you have a convection function on your oven, use it at this temperature -- I like the extra oven spring that the convection gives this bread. The loaf is done when a skewer inserted halfway into the center comes out clean, or a thermometer registers approximately 200 degrees F. Remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer.
I created this recipe for the “Bake for the Cure” contest sponsored by Fleishmann’s Yeast at the Los Angeles County Fair, on September 23, 2007. I won third place. One of the judges told me that the bread would’ve placed higher had I remembered to add salt –and she was right, I had forgotten to add the salt! I’ve modified this recipe a bit over the years, replacing regular milk with powdered milk, and increasing the amount of dill and paprika. You can play around with the ingredients to suit your taste, including substituting granulated garlic in place of the granulated onion if you prefer.
This dough can be shaped into individual rolls, which is how it is pictured here. I portion out the dough into about 2-ounce pieces by weight, and I shape each one into a mini-boule. At that size, this recipe will yield around 20 rolls. You can place the rolls on a greased cookie sheet. I prefer to bake them individually in greased, standard-size muffin pans because they hold their shape better. The baking time for rolls will be around 15 to 18 minutes.
The internet is full of good videos on shaping dough. If you are new to the world of bread (and even if you're an old hand at it) watching a few videos will help to keep your shaping technique in tip-top shape.