Airy Light Casserole Bread (Oklahoma, 1970s)


I’ve never been particularly good with yeast breads.  I know enough to know what I’m doing wrong (kiling the yeast) but still haven’t spent the time to figure out how to do it right.  So I appreciate idiot-proof bread recipes like Airy Light Casserole Bread from Adventures in Cooking.

What makes this recipe unusual is “warm cottage cheese”, which isn’t something you see very often.  The “warm” makes sense because it keeps the yeast at optimum temperature, although it’s still not obvious to me what role it plays in the final product.   The other little historical oddity is that the recipe calls for “cream-style cottage cheese” which, these days, is more or less the only kind of cream cheese you can find.  I’ve got one local grocery store that still sells dry curd cottage cheese.  I bought it once out of curiosity and – aside from mixing it with canned fruit – I’m not really sure what you’d use it for.

The other big selling point for this recipe (for me) is that it only requires a hand mixer.  No kneading.  No dough hook.   Low labor, high reward.

The end product is as advertised: light, airy, pillowy goodness.   Think a high-quality focaccia which much less work.  There’s not much substance to the bread so the herbs come through loud and clear.  If dill seed isn’t your jam rosemary or even minced garlic would make an acceptable substitute.  Add a little bit of melted butter and salt before serving.

Airy Light Casserole Bread (Oklahoma, 1970s)

  • Preparation: 15 min
  • Cooking: 40 min
  • Ready in: 2 h 55 min

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Mix the yeast, sugar, and warm water and let stand for 10-15 minutes. If your yeast is fresh and alive you should see bubbles or foam emerging from the liquid.
  2. Add the yeast mixture to a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients except for the flour and mix with a hand mixer on medium speed until blended.
  3. Add the flour a half cup at a time and continue to mix with the hand mixer until a stiff dough forms. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 1-2 hours.
  4. After the dough has risen, punch down the dough and transfer to a greased 8 inch round cake pan or - ideally - a buttered 8-10 inch cast iron skillet. Spread the down out to fill the pan like you would with a pizza crust. Cover and set aside for 30-40 minutes.
  5. Bake in a 350 F oven for 25-35 minutes until lightly browned on top and a toothpick in the center comes out clean

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