This simple soup was eaten in Amish Mennonite communities in southwestern Ontario and was often called by its Pennsylvania Dutch name. Some cooks served it simultaneously with a slice of apple pie and pieces of cheese.
1 ½ cups dried navy beans
2 ½ tsp. salt
2 T. butter
4 cups milk
1 ½ cup bread cubes
Cinnamon for sprinkling
Wash the beans and soak them in water for several hours or overnight, using enough water to more than cover them. Discard the water, add new water and salt. Cook them for 1 to 2 hours, until they’re soft. Add the milk and butter and simmer until hot, stirring as needed. (If much cooking water was left, you can add powdered milk to it and decrease the amount of milk.)
Before serving, add the cubed bread and stir well. When the soup is in the individual bowls, sprinkle it lightly with cinnamon.
For a story and reflection related to this soup, see “Take, bless, break.”