Italian Herb Boule

herb boule 2

Monsoon season is just about over, and we’ve had a few cloudy-ish days since I got back from my trip. It was sort of nice to be inside feeling cozy while the rain came down.

The smell of homemade bread on it’s own is amazing, but something magical happens when you’re tucked inside on a rainy day watching Sense and Sensibility for the 5,000th time while your house fills with the smell of bread.

herb boule 3

I got the idea for this bread when I had a hankering for the appetizer bread you get at restaurants to dip in seasoned olive oil. I love the salty crust and the herby taste that’s not too overpowering.

For a first attempt, I’d say things went pretty well! I used one loaf at dinner to be served with pasta and salad and the other I cut up to use for panini. It was GREAT for both uses.

One key to getting the crust right on a boule (pronounced bool) is to make sure your oven is thoroughly preheated. Keep your water spray bottle close at hand so you can spritz water in throughout the bake time.

herb boule 5

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Italian Herb Boule


  • 3/4c water
  • 1/2c milk
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 Tbsp fresh), minced
  • 1/2tsp dried oregano (or 1/2 Tbsp fresh)
  • 1/4tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling (I use kosher salt)
  • 3c flour


  1. In a small saucepan, combine water and milk and heat until warm to the touch but not hot (you should comfortably be able to touch the liquid). Remove from heat and add to a large bowl. Add yeast and sugar and stir to combine. Let stand about 5 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form.
  2. Add olive oil, rosemary, oregano, garlic powder, and salt and stir to combine. Add flour 1/2c at a time, stirring well after each addition. Dough will likely be somewhat sticky.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead only 1-2 minutes to coat with a bit more flour. Dough will be more wet than traditional bread dough (this is okay).
  4. Place dough in a large bowl that has been coated with a thin layer of olive oil or nonstick spray and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow dough to rise about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.
  5. Punch down dough and divide in half. Form each half into a ball (if you find your hands are sticking to the dough, you can use a bit of flour or olive oil to help things along).
  6. Place two dough balls on a large cookie sheet that has been coated with nonstick spray or olive oil. (If you like, you can sprinkle the sheet with cornmeal). With a sharp knife, cut three shallow slits in the top of each ball. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Cover and allow to rise another 30 minutes.
  8. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10-12 minutes, spritzing inside of oven every 3 minutes or so with a water spray bottle.
  9. Allow to cool and slice to serve.



  1. Oh that looks good! My husband loves this kind of bread and loves even more dipping it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I’m going to try it soon. I don’t have much experience with making bread but I tried your recipe for soft whole wheat bread the other day and everyone I shared it with loved it! Thanks for your blog. I love it! Every recipe I try turns out great!

  2. Looks like you have a nicely balanced crust and crumb there!
    I love Italian bread. Actually I love all bread, especially homemade.
    I get disappointed if restaurant bread isn’t top quality.

  3. I’m having company this week and they are going to get some of your delicious food. I tell everyone about your blog. Beautiful !!!

  4. You need to check out They have the BEST EVER olive oils for dipping! I have been buying their oils for years now. The Olio Santo is my favorite, although the Olio Pomodoro is also good. And, their Aceto Balsamico goes so well with their oils-especially for dipping bread. This stuff is SO worth every penny! (Even my non-culinarily minded husband notices when we’re running low and request more…)

  5. Emily, this recipe was fabulous the first time I made it. Since then I’ve had a hard time getting the loaves to rise. Do you have any thoughts on the possible reasons?

    1. Oh, darn! There are a lot of factors that can impact yeast breads. A few things to think about:

      1) are you positive your yeast is active (does it bubble up in warm water with the sugar?)
      2) Is the kitchen warm enough for the bread to rise? Sometimes if it’s colder, you need to add a little rising time.

      These are the first things I check for. If you’re still having trouble, you may want to try adding additional yeast to the recipe. (I’d start with 1 Tbsp if you go this route)

      I’m so sorry you’re having trouble! I’d totally make up a batch myself to test it if we weren’t gluten free!

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