I was at a birthday party. I talking “hippie food” (as my husband likes to call it) with his cousin, who lives near a very foodie part of London, Ontario. She was telling me about this bakery she liked to go to, and that’s when she filled my ears with these glorious words for the very first time: “dill pickle bread.” I think I gaped.
Naturally, I ran home as soon as I could and started reading. I didn’t look through that many recipes, but every one I found was for a bread machine and came with huge strings of mixed reviews. Dill pickle bread, I gathered shortly, is one of those things that is either the most amazing thing ever or you fail utterly at making.
The problem, of course, is the brine.
I played and played with this one, using store-bought pickles and their “juice” at first. Chemical preservatives and artificial flavourings aside, it frequently killed the yeast at full strength, and then I diluted the brine mixture, which gave me a mediocre flavour and still made the bread take 50% longer to rise.
So I went back to the drawing board. Consistency had to be key, and there was no better way to make sure of consistency than to make the whole darn thing from scratch, if possible. It’s still a little slower to rise–it was a delicate balance between yeast health and flavour, but I got my delicious, amazing-for-grilled-cheese-and-ham-sandwich dill pickle bread, and I can proudly say that the key to getting the most awesome flavour is love, a little patience, and naturally-produced slow-food.
Lacto-fermented pickles will give the bread that real dill-pickle punch, and I love the way the mustard and dill seed appears in the sliced bread.
Dill Pickle Bread
|Prep time||2 hours, 20 minutes|
|Cook time||30 minutes|
|Total time||2 hours, 50 minutes|
|Misc||Child Friendly, Freezable|
- 1/2 cup brine (see brine recipe attached)
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 cups bread (strong) flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons dried dill weed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup naturally fermented pickle, minced (regular dill pickles will do but won't have the same oomph)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon dill seed
Patience is key in working with dill pickle bread; the brine may slow the yeast's action by 25% or more. You can use store-bought brine if you don't wish to make your own, but the flavour is not as intense, the yeast may fail to prove, and if the yeast does prove it may take even longer to rise.
Let your eyes and hands guide you; you will be able to tell if your yeast is in trouble when you handle the dough even during the first kneading--it will feel cold and hard.
|Step 1.||Combine the brine ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, stir up the brine, and pour off 1/2 cup. Add enough water to bring to a full cup of liquid, and allow to cool to 110F.|
|Step 2.||In a mixing bowl, combine the warm brine with sugar and the yeast. Allow 10-15 minutes to proof... look for the yeast bloom.|
|Step 3.||Add the minced pickle, dill weed, olive oil, and two cups of flour. Stir until flour and other ingredients are well incorporated. Gradually add remaining flour until dough begins to form a ball.|
|Step 4.||Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6-8 minutes. The dough will be slightly more wet because of the pickles, so use a sprinkling of flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the counter. Knead until the dough becomes velvety and creates a "pane" when stretched with your fingers.|
|Step 5.||Allow the dough to rise in a lightly greased bowl covered with a damp tea towel in a warm spot for between 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes or until doubled.|
|Step 6.||Punch down and knead slightly, reforming the ball to shape a greased 9x5" loaf pan. Cover with a slightly damp paper towel and allow to rise another 30-45 minutes, or until the bread is approximately 1" above the level of the pan.|
|Step 7.||Bake at 350F for 30 minutes.|