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Whole-Wheat Herb Bread Recipe

Whole-Wheat Herb Bread Recipe
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by in May 2013
Whole-Wheat Herb Bread RecipePhoto/Art by Katie Noble

Total Time: 8-1/2 hours

Hands On Time: 1/2 hour

Yield: 2 loaves

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.

Read more about the red winter wheat that's being grown in Northfield, Massachusetts.

FOR THE STARTER:

Ingredients:

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

Instructions:

First, make the starter: Add yeast to 1/4  cup hot water, and stir with a fork to dissolve. Let proof 10 minutes. Then add 2/3 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:

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Instructions:

When starter is ready, make the dough: In the large bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, proof yeast in 1/4 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, 1-1/2 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.  

Updated Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

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