There is only one thing wrong with this bread recipe – it makes only one loaf, which has a way of disappearing much too quickly.
I was introduced to making Dilly Casserole Bread from the recipe printed in one of my bread cookbooks, The Complete Book of Breads by Bernard Clayton, Jr. Preceding his published recipe, the author gives credit to it being a national contest winner by stating this: “…At the drop of a pan, a home baker will give you a pet dilly recipe – all harking back to the winning entry in a national baking contest several years ago…”
That national baking contest was Pillsbury’s – the bread was a prize winner in the 1960 contest. In order to pin a Dilly Casserole Bread recipe to my Pinterest board for yeast bread recipes, I found the Pillsbury recipe online and pinned that one for my future reference.
The baking ingredients and preparation steps are almost identical between the Pillsbury original recipe and the way Clayton, Jr. prepares his published bread recipe. I made my bread today (see the images accompanying this article) from the recipe I have always used in the bread cookbook; the next time I will use the exact Pillsbury recipe and make the slight adjustments from their recipe regarding when to add flour and how long to beat the mixture, etc.
The basic differences between the two recipes
1) Clayton, Jr. uses 2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups of flour; Pillsbury calls for 2 to 2 2/3 cups flour (I use exactly 2 1/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons flour)
2) He omits the 1 tablespoon butter or margarine that Pillsbury includes. (I do not know why he does this; I think it would be good to include it, and I plan to do that next time by adding butter.)
3) He calls for these steps: Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a large mixing bowl; stir to mix. Pour cottage cheese mixture into bowl; add sugar; onion bits; dill seeds; salt; baking soda and egg. Add flour, a half cup at a time, to make a stiff batter, beating well after each addition. The Pillsbury recipe differs slightly on these steps.
I suspect the bread would turn out well from either recipe no matter how it is mixed, since the ingredients are just about identical.
Some of my own timing for the size casserole I use
The inside of my casserole measures 7 1/2″ across at the top. When I follow Clayton, Jr.’s recipe, these timing steps work well for me:
1) I measure out all of my ingredients before starting.
2) I warm my 4 qt. crockery mixing bowl for one minute in the microwave.
3) The 1/4 cup of water takes 15 seconds to warm in the microwave.
4) The cottage cheese takes 1 min. 15 seconds to warm in the microwave.
5) My first rising is for one hour (I have an electric proofer which gives me consistent timing for each rising).
6) My second rising with the batter in the casserole takes 55 minutes.
7) I bake for 20 minutes; cover lightly with foil; bake an additional 15 minutes.
The amount of time for the batter to rise will differ for each individual baker depending on the way one goes about completing that part of the baking process.
Note: Although I use dill seeds and instant minced onion, I also add a small amount of dill weed and onion powder for a bit of extra flavor.
What I like best about this bread
Dilly Casserole Bread is very versatile. I enjoy it with soups, for sandwiches, or even just toasted and spread with butter. If I ever did have any extra slices to use up, it would be great for croutons. So far, that hasn’t happened. I always slice and freeze the bread, and the slices do not remain in my freezer for long.
Another plus is the ease with which this bread can be prepared – there is no kneading required.
The flavor and texture of Dilly Casserole Bread are unlike the breads you buy at the markets. As a happy home bread baker, I cannot imagine purchasing a loaf of plain white bread when there are so many delicious ways to make this food staple in the home.
You can find the Pillsbury recipe for Dilly Casserole Bread on my Pinterest site if you would like to try the recipe or repin it.
The cookbook version I refer to in this article can be found on page 454 of The Complete Book of Breads.
Clayton, Jr., Bernard, The Complete Book of Breads, New York, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1963.