Rustic Savory Wheat Bread Recipe With Herbs and Onions

This rustic savory wheat bread recipe uses onions and fresh herbs parsley, sage and rosemary, perfect as a side dish for any meal.

A rustic savory wheat bread recipe is necessary for any home baker.

A rustic savory wheat bread recipe is necessary for any home baker.

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Learn how to make this rustic savory wheat bread recipe using onions and fresh herbs of parsley, sage and rosemary from the garden.

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This wheat bread recipe is fashioned after Tuscan bread that I learned to make when I lived in Italy. The addition of herbs and onions makes it a savory loaf. The bread dough can be allowed to rise once and be punched down; then the herbs can be kneaded in and the dough shaped into a loaf, allowed to rise again and then baked. For a variation in flavor and texture, you can replace 1 cup of the whole-wheat flour with 1 cup of rye flour. If you have time, let the dough rise and be punched down twice before kneading in the herbs, this seems to make the loaves a bit bigger and yeastier. Either way, it is delectable. The second loaf can be frozen once it has cooled completely.

Rustic Savory Wheat Bread Recipe With Herbs and Onions

Makes 2 loaves

1/2 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons yeast
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups unbleached flour
4 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water, divided
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup unbleached flour for kneading
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
2 generous tablespoons fresh minced sage
2 generous tablespoons fresh minced rosemary
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1/4 cup cornmeal, for sprinkling on baking sheet and tops of loaves

In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup lukewarm water, yeast and honey. Let mixture stand until yeast becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.

In large bowl, combine unbleached flour, whole-wheat flour and salt; make a well in center of flour. Add yeast mixture to well and stir just to combine a little of the flour. Add half the water and start to blend in some flour with a wooden spoon. Add oil and rest of the water and continue mixing. Once most of the flour is mixed in and it becomes hard to stir, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.

Gather dough together and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with flour if sticky, as needed. The dough should be a bit heavy. Place kneaded dough in large, lightly oiled bowl to rise, covered with damp towel. If you are letting the dough rise overnight, cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Check to see if it needs punching down. If it has doubled in bulk, punch it down with your fist, give it a few kneads, turn it over, and either cover it to rise again, or prepare to shape loaves.

Heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit when ready to shape loaves. Combine herbs and chopped onion together. Divide dough in half and knead each portion, one at a time, gently flattening dough. Spread one-quarter herb mixture on flattened dough and fold it in half to cover and knead. Flatten dough again and spread another quarter herb mixture on dough, fold over and knead. Continue kneading and working herbs and onions into dough, gathering any pieces that fall out. Once dough is homogenous, shape it into a loaf. Repeat process with remaining dough and herb mixture.

Lightly sprinkle baking sheet with cornmeal. Place loaves, not touching, on sheet and sprinkle tops with cornmeal. With sharp knife, make two or three diagonal slashes, about 1/2 inch deep, across tops of loaves. Place towel over loaves and allow them to rise in warm place until almost doubled in bulk.

Bake in hot oven for about 45 minutes, until tops are golden brown. Remove to baking rack to cool.