Basil and Sage Bread

READY IN: 6hrs
Recipe by ellie_

Although time consuming (3 rises) this bread is delicious with winter stews and soup. Recipe source: Bon Appetit (February, 1985). Prep time includes rises.

Top Review by mianbao

This is excellent bread, very light and flavorful. I had some trouble with it the first time I made it, maybe because I made it by hand. The bread spread out too much and was too soft. I have since tried it twice - each time mixing by hand. The trick seems to be to get the dough firm enough to form nice loaves. I find that I need to add 1 cup or more flour. (The recipe does say to add flour if it's sticky.) Even with the extra flour the bread is light. I think this dough should be firmer than usual white bread dough. I also kneaded it thoroughly. I tried this recipe twice with the wine and once without, and while I think the wine adds a hint of sweetness, the bread is also very good with just water. I quite like the bread with the amounts of basil and sage given, though I think this can be easily adjusted for personal preferences. I made one batch with an Italian seasoning mix, which I thought was nice, too. And I am in the process of making one more batch with only caraway seeds - boring, I know, but I love them. I used SAF instant yeast, so didn't wait until it foamed up, but did make the sponge. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Sprinkle yeast over 1 cup water in large bowl, stir to dissove.
  2. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  3. Mix rye and white flour together to equal 6 cups flour.
  4. Mix 1 1/2 cups flour in with yeast/water, stir well.
  5. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour over dough.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise in warm area until doubled (1 1/2 hours).
  7. Heat oil in skillet over low heat.
  8. Add basil and sage, stir about 1 minute.
  9. Remove from heat and cool.
  10. Blend 1 cup of flour, oil mixture, 1/2 cup water (or wine), salt and pepper into dough using a dough hook or by hand.
  11. Slowly add remainlng 1/2 cup water.
  12. Stir in remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup at a time until dough is smooth and elastic (10 minutes if using dough hook), adding more flour if dough is still sticky.
  13. Grease large bowl.
  14. Add dough, turning to coat all sides of dough.
  15. Cover bowl and let rise until doubled (1 1/2 hours).
  16. Grease two baking sheets.
  17. Punch dough down.
  18. Divide dough in half.
  19. Form each piece of dough into a 14-inch long loaf.
  20. Place on baking sheets, seam side down.
  21. Let rise in warm area until almost double (1 hour).
  22. Preheat oven to 400-degrees F.
  23. Slash tops of loaves with knife.
  24. Bake bread 50-60 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped on bottom and is golden brown.

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