I haven’t made any fresh bread in months. Which is so disappointing because I think homemade fresh bread is absolutely one of the best things in the world. I am not a huge bread person either (I am a pasta girl though). But homemade, FRESH bread, that will get me every time.

I sometimes wonder why people choose the recipes they do. Do you ever wonder that?

Q. Why did I choose a basil garlic bread with COTTAGE CHEESE?

A. I had about 1 cup of cottage cheese in the house that was about to go bad. And I was sort of over eating it. So I decided to see what kind of breads could be made with cottage cheese. Originally I was thinking that I would just do a quick bread, like banana bread with cottage cheese. But when I came across this recipe, I knew I had to go for it. I had also bought a huge bunch of basil the day before, but didn’t know what I was going to do with it.

The aroma of this bread is overwhelming. From the first rise all the way through the baking, your entire house will smell like fresh basil and garlic. It is unreal how good it smells. And because the process of making this takes about 4 hours, you get the FABULOUS smell that entire time, which makes the waiting time totally worth it.

As soon as the bread came out of the oven it was lunch time. PERFECT. Turkey sandwich on Basil Garlic Bread. Wow, what a treat. My husband said it was the best turkey sandwich he has ever had. He is a sucker for homemade fresh bread too :)

Makes 2 loaves (total of about 30 slices of bread)
Recipe Adapted from Annie-Eats

Ingredients
2 tbsp. instant yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 cup cottage cheese, at room temperature (I used non fat)
2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 heaping tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. fresh basil, minced
1 tbsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. olive oil
3-4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour

Directions
Combine the yeast and the water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and stir to dissolve the yeast. Add all remaining ingredients, except flours, to the bowl and mix until a dough has formed. Switch over to the dough hook and stir at low speed. Add flour 1 cup at a time until you have a soft dough that clears the sides of the bowl. Continue kneading on low speed for 5-6 minutes.

Transfer the dough ball to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place. (I preheat my oven to 150 degrees F, turn it off as soon as it reaches this temp, and then put the dough in.) Let rise until the dough has doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
*If the kitchen isn’t warm, turn on the oven to 200 degrees and set the bowl with the dough by the oven. The dough needs some warmth to help it rise.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down and shape into a log the size of a loaf pan. Place into a lightly greased loaf pan and press down gently so that the dough touches all sides of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise again in a warm place, 30-60 minutes.

*I formed 2 loaves and placed them side by side in a 8×8 inch square silicone cake pan. This is dumb, but I saw and episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives where the featured diner made their bread side by side and broke it in 2 when it was done. I think I started drooling. So that was my inspiration for baking them in the same pan. but you could just as well bake them in 2 loaf pans.

When the loaf has risen, remove the plastic wrap and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes, then cover with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning and bake another 15-20 minutes longer. Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from pan and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.

For dinner that night I made some artichoke bruschetta and toasted the bread. Delicious. This bread has so many amazing uses!!!!!