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 (I used instant yeast) and salt. 

Stir in warm water until well combined.  

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

after and hour it will look like a loose dough with tiny bubbles. 

Place the dough on a well-floured surface (the dough will be a little wet) and sprinkle flour on top.  

Using a scraper (or place the dough on a piece of floured parchment paper and use the sides of the paper) fold dough over several times and shape into a rough ball. Once I get the dough into a ball, I remove the dough off the parchment paper tuck the sides underneath the ball, tucking the ends underneath. Pull the dough ball towards you a few times causing tension, keep repeating until it forms into a tight ball.  

Line a large bowl with a clean piece of parchment paper and spray with non stick baking spray.  

Place dough in the bowl and score bread using a bread blade this is optional. 

Cover with a towel and let sit on the counter for 20 - 30 minutes. I usually place mine on top of the stove as the pot is preheating in the oven.

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

After 30 minutes the dough should will have risen. Using oven gloves or mitts remove the lid to the pot and lift the parchment paper out of the bowl with the dough and transfer into the hot pot. The dough will sit inside the pot lined with the parchment paper. 

Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

Using oven gloves or mitts remove the pot out of the oven and take off the lid. The bread should be light golden in color. Leave the lid off and return the (pot) with the bread to the oven and bake uncovered 10 - 15 minutes longer. 

Continue baking until bread gets a deep golden brown. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. For a crunchier loaf allow the bread to cool directly on the oven rack (with the oven OFF and the door partially open) for about 15 minutes then remove to a cooling rack. 

Cool bread for 30 minutes before slicing and slather with homemade butter

The difference between each variety of yeast. 

Instant Yeast:  can be added straight into the flour mixture or dry ingredients. 

Rapid Rise Yeast: Rapid or quick rise yeast can be added directly into the dry ingredients and does not need to be proofed. With rapid or quick rise yeast you can skip the first rise of the dough. Mix all of the ingredients together and let the dough rest about 10 minutes  in the mixer bowl (the dough will not rise) before kneading.  After the 10 minutes, knead the dough, shape into loaves and let the dough rise. Rapid rise yeast omits the first rising all together. 

Active Dry Yeast: needs to be dissolved in water first according to the package directions. When it gets bubbly and foamy mix in with the rest of the ingredients. 


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.