Whole-Wheat Herb Bread

For the starter:


1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup hot water, divided
1-3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


First, make the starter: Add yeast to ¼ cup hot water, and stir with a fork to dissolve. Let proof 10 minutes. Then add ⅔ cup hot water and enough flour to make a loose dough. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel, and let rise at room temperature at least 4 hours, up to overnight.

For the dough:


1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 2 cups hot water, divided
1 cup starter
1 tablespoon kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cups Four Star Zorro or King Arthur whole-wheat flour
3-4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, divided
Olive oil (for bowl)
Cornmeal or flour (for baking stone or sheet)


When starter is ready, make the dough: In the large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, proof yeast in ¼ cup hot water for 10 minutes. Then add starter, salt, remaining 2 cups hot water, and chopped herbs. Mix. Add whole-wheat flour and mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically. Then add all-purpose flour in 1-cup increments until dough forms a rough ball. Switch to your mixer's dough hook, or move to a wooden dough board, and knead until smooth and springy. Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Put dough into the bowl and let rise until doubled, 1-½ to 2 hours. Then form dough into two loaves and let rise 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven, preferably with a baking stone, to 450°. Sprinkle the baking stone or a heavy cookie sheet with a little cornmeal or flour. Place loaves on stone or sheet, and make 2 shallow slashes on top of each loaf with a sharp knife. Bake 10 minutes; then reduce heat to 400°. Continue baking 40 minutes more, until loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom and are browned on top.

Cooking & Recipes



This bread is wonderful with good butter, cheese, and cured meats. Using a starter means that loaves will stay fresh for 3 to 5 days. You'll need to plan ahead, though, mixing the starter 4 to 12 hours before making the dough. Think of it as a Sunday bread you can start in the morning and serve at dinner, with little fuss in between.


2 loaves

Preparation Time: 

1/2 hour

Start to Finish Time: 

8-1/2 hours

Preparation Method

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