Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Pillsbury Bake-Off and a 1960 Classic: Dilly Casserole Bread

This past Thursday was kind of a challenging day.  First, the highly anticipated Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest opened for entries and posted its rules.  Much to my dismay, if you want to be one of the finalists you are going to have to ask your friends and family for votes.  I really love this contest, but I can't tell you how much I dislike that.  I have never won a popularity contest in my life and I'm afraid that I never will.   Besides that, voting contests are notorious for being manipulated.  I haven't seen many of these contests where the best recipe won.  I will have to trust that Pillsbury won't let that happen.

Then, to top it all off, my cake decorating class which was to start the next night was cancelled because I was the only one enrolled.  This wouldn't have been so bad had I not already bought $200 worth of class supplies and removed them from their packaging.  I should have known better, but I have always loved playing with new school supplies and couldn't help myself.

To make myself feel better I did what usually does the trick and picked a fight with my husband.  That did relieve some of my tension, but it left me needing to apologize which just made me feel worse in the end, so I had a glass of wine and went to bed. 

After sleeping on my problems, I came to some conclusions.  I think I'll just keep enrolling in the class each month and see how long it takes for someone else to decide they'd like to be a cake boss too.  I'll also do my best to stay out of my supplies so nothing gets lost or broken which so often happened to me in elementary school.

As for Pillsbury I guess I'll just have to go with it.  It is their million dollar contest after all and they can run it any way they see fit.   As I see it I have two choices, either enter and ask for votes or just not participate at all.  I'm not sure what my final decision will be, but please don't be surprised if I am asking for favors in the next few months.  That is if I am lucky enough to get that far.

Since I am talking about Pillsbury here I thought I'd endorse a Bake-Off recipe from the good old days.  This recipe is a throw back to the days when the main qualifying ingredients were Pillsbury flour and a healthy dose of imagination.  I think you'll really like this recipe if you'll just give it a chance and not be put off by the 1960s list of ingredients, because just like I Love Lucy and young Elvis, it is a true mid-century classic. 

Leona Schnuelle's original Dilly Casserole Bread From the 1960 Pillsbury Bake-Off

This is just one recipe of several from the Bake-Off that have become American favorites over the years.  You might not even realize that those little peanut butter and Hershey kiss thumbprint cookies that your grandmother has been making for years is a Bake-Off recipe.  You may even be more surprised to know that it did not win the 1957 contest.  The grand prize actually went to the now lesser known Accordion Treats by Gerda Roderer.   As for that Peach Cheesy Pie that you have been eating your whole life, yep you guessed it, that was 17 year old Janis Boykin's winning recipe in 1964.

2 to 2- 2/3 cups Pillsbury BEST® All Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons sugar
2 to 3 teaspoons instant minced onion
2 teaspoons dill seed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon margarine or butter
1 cup small curd creamed cottage cheese
1 egg
2 teaspoons margarine or butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, if desired
In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, onion, dill seed, 1 teaspoon salt, baking soda and yeast; mix well.
In small saucepan, heat water, 1 tablespoon margarine and cottage cheese until very warm (120 to 130°F.). Add warm liquid and egg to flour mixture; blend at low speed until moistened. Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.
By hand, stir in remaining 1 to 1 2/3 cups flour to form a stiff batter. Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80 to 85°F.) until light and doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

Generously grease 1 1/2 or 2-quart casserole. Stir down batter to remove all air bubbles. Turn into greased casserole. Cover; let rise in warm place until light and doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.

Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover dough. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped. If necessary, cover with foil to prevent over browning. Remove from casserole; place on wire rack. Brush loaf with melted margarine; sprinkle with coarse salt. Cool 15 minutes. Serve warm or cool.
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