If you walk in most Amish gardens during the summer, you'll catch the distinctive smell of dill wafting up from the herbs.
The Amish do grow dill. It is a popular herb in Amish cuisine, and is used in a variety of dishes, including pickles, breads, and soups. Dill is also used in Amish medicinal practices. But dill can also be used in bread recipes and that is what we are focusing on today.
🍞 Why Dill?
There are a number of reasons why the Amish grow dill. First, it is a relatively easy herb to grow, and can be grown in a variety of climates. Second, dill is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. Third, dill has a number of health benefits, including being anti-inflammatory and digestive.
Here are some examples of Amish recipes that use dill:
- Amish Dill Pickles
- Amish Dilly Bread
- Amish Chicken and Dill Soup
- Amish Dill Salad Dressing
- Amish Dill Tea
The Amish also use dill in their gardens to attract swallowtail butterflies. Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on dill plants, and the caterpillars that hatch from the eggs eat the dill leaves. Some old wives tales say that Amish believe that swallowtails are good luck, so they often plant dill in their gardens to attract them. I personally have not run into any Amish who feel these butterflies are good luck, but some people do espouse that.
🥒 A Really Big Dill
Overall, dill is a popular and important herb in Amish culture. It is grown for its culinary, medicinal, and aesthetic value.
Dill is easy to grow, is used in pickling, but can also add some zip to other dishes, like this homemade Amish dilly bread.
The Clemson University Agriculture Extension Service describes dill:
Dill is one of the easiest herbs to grow from seed sown in fall or early spring. It is a cool-weather annual that will go to seed with the onset of hot weather. Feathery young leaves are used in salads and with vegetables and fish. The ripe seeds and unripe seed heads are used in pickling. The large green caterpillars that love to eat dill are swallowtail butterfly larvae. Do not plant dill near fennel since they can cross and produce strangely flavored seedlings. Dill readily self seeds.
📋 Step-By-Step Amish Dilly Bread
Dissolve yeast in a large mixing bowl of warm water. You don't want the water to be too warm, maybe about 110 - 120 degrees for the yeast mixture.
Another distinctive ingredient in this Amish Dilly Bread is cottage cheese.
I like the Daisy brand of small curd cottage cheese, but you can use whatever you like. Man, there used to be a brand in Cincinnati called Trauth and I LOVED their cottage cheese, but just pick whatever you want. If you don't have cottage cheese, ricotta would be an okay substitute.
You can use all-purpose flour or bread flour for this recipe. Even mixing in some whole wheat flour works.
You can either make one big dilly loaf, which is great for slicing as a sandwich bread. But you can also do what we did, which is to make dilly rolls. These are great served warm and slathered with butter.
Let the rolls cool on a wire rack. Store leftovers in an air-tight container.
🍞 More Amish Bread Recipes
If you prefer just a basic Amish white bread, this is a good one too.
Cinnamon Raisin Bread: perfect!
Strawberry Bread: So good!
Homemade Garlic Toast: perfect with butter!
🖨️ Full Recipe
Crusty and Delicious Amish Dilly Bread
- 1 package active dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup small-curd cottage cheese
- 1 tablespoon dry dill seed or dill weed
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 large egg
- 2 ½ cups bread flour
- Dissolve the yeast in the water in a large bowl.
- Add the sugar, onion flakes, butter, salt, cottage cheese, dill, baking soda, and egg.
- Mix well. Slowly add the flour, beating after each addition.
- After all the flour is added and stirred in, you may need to knead the dough with your hands to finish mixing the flour in.
- Cover with a damp cloth. Let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Punch down and shape into 12 rolls or 1 loaf.
- Grease a baking sheet for the rolls or grease and flour a 5 by 9-inch loaf pan for the loaf.
- Place the dough on the sheet or in the pan, cover with a damp cloth, and let rise again until light, 30 to 45 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake until golden brown, 14 to 16 minutes for the rolls or about 45 minutes for the loaf.
- Remove the pans from the oven and brush the bread or rolls with melted lard or margarine.
- Unused rolls or bread can be sealed and frozen, or stored in a sealed container and stay fresh for 3 to 4 days. Makes 12 rolls or 1 loaf.