Dill: The Oft Neglected Herb

Dill and Onion Bread, fresh from the oven

I love dill, but I am not a faithful lover. In reality, I forget about its existence for months on end. It tends to take a backseat to the other herbs in my life: rosemary, thyme, basil, sage, cilantro … I neglect it. And then I regret it. And then I try to make up for my neglect by showering it with attention. It takes only one whiff of the weed to bring back savory memories of dill deliciousness: I love it in salads and with potatoes; mixed with sour cream as an impromptu dip or dressing for garden-fresh cucumbers; with fish; and kneaded into bread dough with its ever-faithful companion, onion.
This time of year, fresh dill is out of the question, in these parts anyway, but dried dill weed and dill seed have been lurking in the back of my cupboard for a while now, neglected but not completely forgotten. This weekend, wanting to take a gift to our Sunday dinner host who is trying to eschew the sweet stuff, I decided it was time for dill to shine. I baked off a loaf of old-school Dill and Onion Bread, then immediately regretted not making two so that we’d have one to scarf down at our house. Thankfully I had the presence of mind to bake another one this morning.
Dill- and onion-flecked dough is ready for its first rise.
Dill and Onion Bread
(eat as is, smeared with butter, or as sandwich bread)
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, room temperature
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2-2 1/2 teaspoons dill weed OR 2 teaspoons dill seed
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Dissolve yeast in water.
In large mixing bowl, or in bowl of stand mixer, combine yeast/water mixture with cottage cheese, melted butter, sugar, dill, onion, salt and baking soda.
Stir in 1 cup of flour, then gradually add more until dough begins to take shape. Knead in remaining flour, by hand or switch to stand mixer’s dough hook, to form a stiff dough.
Transfer to lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, and let rise in warm place for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.
Punch down dough, shape, and transfer to a loaf pan. Let rise again for about 45 minutes.
The dough, after its second rise
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (a few minutes before dough has finished its second rise).
Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
Remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack before devouring.