A Recipe to Die For: Hard Dough Bread

There is nothing quite like the smell and texture of freshly baked hard dough bread. As the wonderfully complex scent of herbs and spices wafts through the air, you know that you are in for something truly special. A staple of many cultures and kitchens, this recipe is as unique as it is delicious!

The combination of ingredients for hard dough bread creates a balance between savory and sweet flavors. Whole wheat, stone-ground flours flavored with rosemary and thyme, garlic and fennel, provide a depth of flavor you won’t find in any other bread. Rich butter and honey helps to keep the dough from feeling too heavy, and the addition of cheese brings a pleasing musty flavor.

Unlike a traditional loaf, hard dough bread gets its distinctive texture and appearance from a lengthy rise and bake process. After the dough is formed into desired shapes and placed into the oven, it’s set at an extremely low temperature (279℉). The dough slowly rises, evaporating a lot of its moisture, resulting in the hard and crisp crust. This lengthy process also helps develop the complex flavor and gives hard dough bread its signature crunch.

If you’ve had French or Italian focaccia, you’ll recognize the similarities in this recipe. From the tangy herbs to the rich butter, the components are all present in Hard Dough Bread. Serve it as is for a snack or appetizer, or make sandwiches using your favorite fillings, either way you won’t be disappointed!


– 2 ½ Cups whole wheat flour
– 2 ½ Cups white flour
– 2 teaspoons instant yeast
– 2 teaspoons sea salt
– 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
– 2 tablespoons dried thyme
– 2 teaspoons garlic powder
– 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
– 2 Tablespoons honey
– ⅔ cup butter
– ¾ cup grated cheese (your favorite)
– 1 ¾ cup lukewarm water


1. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, rosemary, thyme, garlic powder, and fennel seeds).

2. In a microwaveable bowl, heat butter and honey until melted, then add to the dry ingredients.

3. Add in the cheese and lukewarm water and mix until a soft and slightly sticky dough is formed.

4. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for approximately 8-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

5. Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour.

6. Divide the dough into two and shape into desired shapes (loaves, round or square).

7. Place the dough on a baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough rise for approximately 30 minutes.

8. Preheat oven to 279˚F and bake for about 25 minutes or until the surface of the bread is golden-brown.

9. Allow the bread to cool and enjoy!

No matter what your skill level in the kitchen, Hard Dough Bread is a recipe sure to please everyone at the table. So don’t delay, gather your ingredients and get baking – you won’t be sorry!