Fresh Dill Bread: History and recipe

Ridiculously delicious dill bread. Photo/Holly Boname
By Kathryn Mollica and Rebekah Kosier

After planting in the garden all morning, the rains set in. So, we all headed indoors for an afternoon of baking bread and learning a little history about this universal food.

Bread History
The Hungarians have a saying: “Bread is older than man.” More than 12,000 years ago, man made flat bread by crushing wheat with a mortar and pestle before mixing the flour with water. The bread was baked in the sun. Later, dough would be baked on heated rocks or in the hot ashes of a fire. It was said the Egyptians created “starter” wild yeast from the air that was kept and mixed with other dough. There is also a legend of a slave forgetting about some dough; when he come back, the dough doubled in size. He tried to hide his mistake and started punching. The result? Lighter bread. Once barley and wheat found use, it started the Neolithic or "New Stone Age". The farming culture raised up. In Old Testament times, women were the bakers. Through the years millstones gained prominence for grinding wheat and the refinement of the flour made it possible to bake white bread. In that time, white bread was the most valuable bread of them all. Later on, the stone mill came into use. With Americans growing wheat, it was easier to make white bread. White bread no longer was just for the rich.

Making Bread
To make our dill bread (featuring fresh dill from the garden!), we followed a simple set of instructions. First, we mixed the yeast into a little bit of warm water. While we waited for the yeast to become active, we made the dough using 3 cups of bread flour and water. Then we added a mixture of thyme and sesame seeds to the dough for flavor. To save time, we used a processor to mix the dough instead of kneading it by hand. When we discovered there was a little too much dough for the processor, we divided it into three sections and used the processor on one section while kneading the other two sections in flour. When all three sections were ready, we combined them into one ball of dough and added some fresh dill we harvested from the herb garden by cutting the dill into fine sections and rolling the kneaded dough into it. After that, we coated the dough in olive oil before placing it in the oven to rise. After an hour in the oven (350 degrees), we took the dough out and sectioned it into two rolls and rolled both loaves in more olive oil before placing it back into the oven to rise a second time before baking it.

For additional bread history, click here.