4 Ingredient Crusty Bread

Learn how to make this 4 ingredient, no knead, bakery style crusty bread in under 3 hours! This simple rustic bread is a fool proof bread recipe perfect for beginners.
Making homemade bread is usually a time consuming task with all the kneading, rising and baking. Don't get me wrong, I love a good homemade loaf bread just as much as the next person, but sometimes I just need a quick, crusty bread that doesn't take all hours in the day to prepare. My all time favorite breads are the crusty style breads that you find in specialty bakeries. 

I always thought artisan bread was hard to make, but I couldn't of been more wrong. Today I'm sharing a crusty bread recipe that 
only requires 4 basic ingredients, flour, water, yeast and salt. This crusty bread is the easiest bread you can bake and perfect for beginners. There's no kneading required and the dough is prepared in one bowl, so it doesn't get much easier than that! 

The outside of this bread is a deep golden brown with a soft and tender middle. This simple, rustic bread pairs perfectly with a steaming bowl of soup, spaghetti and meat sauce or served along side of a pot roast.  I suggest making this bread a few times as written, but once you get the hang of it, you definitely need to try a few of my favorite mix in's listed at the end of this post. Let's get started on the recipe.  

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Stir in warm water until well combined (dough will look shaggy).

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

After the dough has rested for one hour, place it on a well-floured surface (the dough will be a little wet) and sprinkle with a flour.

Knead the dough just a bit and form into a rough ball.

Once the dough forms into a ball and is no longer sticky, pull the sides of the dough underneath the ball. Pull the dough ball towards you a few times causing tension, keep repeating until it forms into a tight ball.

Line a large bowl or basket with parchment paper that has been lightly floured. I used my bread baskets so I did not use parchment paper Place the dough seam side up and pinch the ends over to seal the dough.

Cover with a towel and let the dough rest on the counter for 20 -30 minutes.

While the dough rests, place a 3-6 quart Dutch oven with lid in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

After 20-30 minutes, uncover the dough and turn the dough ball out onto a piece of parchment paper that has been lightly floured. Make sure the paper is large enough because it needs to fit inside the Dutch oven. Rub a bit of flour on top of the shaped dough and make a slit into the top of the dough using a bread lame of very sharp knife (this step is very important so the steam can escape). 

Using oven gloves remove the lid to the pot. Lift the parchment paper with the dough and place it into the hot Dutch oven. The dough will sit inside the pot lined with parchment paper. Drop an ice cube into the Dutch oven between the parchment paper and the pot. (this creates steam inside the Dutch oven to help the bread rise).

Cover and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove lid. Bread should be very light golden in color. Leave the lid off and return the (pot) into the oven and bake uncovered an additional 10 - 15 minutes longer.

Bake until bread until very golden brown (not burnt).

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Cool bread for 30 minutes before slicing. The top of the bread can be brushed with melted Cool bread for 30 minutes before slicing and slather with homemade butter


Unknown said…
The recipe calls for hot water but the directions say to add warm water. Shouldn't the recipe be warm water?
Unknown said…
I don't own a dutch oven pot like the one shown can I bake it in a regular loaf pan?
Unknown said…
To my knowledge, you need a pot with a cover to achieve steam while baking, otherwise you will bot get an outside crust and your bread might be too dry
Tina Butler said…
You will need to use an oven proof pot with a lid, so a loaf pan will not work with this recipe. You can use a covered Pryex bowl, cast iron dutch oven or a ceramic covered pot.
Unknown said…
I am visiting family and had to improvise baking in a cast iron pan using a stainless steel bowl over the top. Worked Great ! And came out Perfect ! Love this recipe ! Oh, and we absolutely did not let it cool 30 min. Just too good to wait 😁
Tina Butler said…
(Unknown) The recipe calls for hot water but the directions say to add warm water. Shouldn't the recipe be warm water?

The only note about hot water is in your comment. The recipe ingredients states very warm water and the directions say to add the warm water, the recipe and instructions is correct.