Crusty Homemade Bread Recipe
Crusty Homemade Bread Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Crusty Homemade Bread Recipe

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Crackling homemade bread makes an average day extraordinary. Enjoy this beautiful loaf as is, or stir in a few favorites like cheese, garlic, herbs and dried fruits. —Megumi Garcia, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 50 min. + cooling
MAKES:16 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 50 min. + cooling
MAKES: 16 servings


  • 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1-3/4 cups water (70° to 75°)
  • 3-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornmeal or additional flour

Nutritional Facts

1 slice (calculated without add-ins): 105 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 296mg sodium, 22g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.


  1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. In a large bowl, mix 3-1/2 cups flour and salt. Using a rubber spatula, stir in yeast mixture to form a soft, sticky dough. Do not knead. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise at room temperature 1 hour.
  2. Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; pat into a 9-in. square. Fold square into thirds, forming a 9x3-in. rectangle. Fold rectangle into thirds, forming a 3-in. square. Turn dough over; place in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise at room temperature until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch down dough and repeat folding process. Return dough to bowl; refrigerate, covered, overnight.
  4. Dust bottom of a disposable foil roasting pan with cornmeal. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead gently 6-8 times; shape into a 6-in. round loaf. Place in prepared pan; dust top with remaining 1 tablespoon flour. Cover pan with plastic wrap; let rise at room temperature until dough expands to a 7-1/2-in. loaf, about 1-1/4 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 500°. Using a sharp knife, make a slash (1/4 in. deep) across top of loaf. Cover pan tightly with foil. Bake on lowest oven rack 25 minutes.
  6. Reduce oven setting to 450°. Remove foil; bake bread 25-30 minutes longer or until deep golden brown. Remove loaf to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf (16 slices).
For Cheddar Cheese Bread: Prepare dough as directed. After refrigerating dough overnight, knead in 4 ounces diced sharp cheddar cheese before shaping. For Rustic Cranberry & Orange Bread: Prepare dough as directed. After refrigerating dough overnight, knead in 1 cup dried cranberries and 4 teaspoons grated orange peel before shaping. For Garlic & Oregano Bread: Prepare dough as directed. After refrigerating dough overnight, microwave 1/2 cup peeled and quartered garlic cloves with 1/4 cup 2% milk on high for 45 seconds. Drain garlic, discarding milk; knead garlic and 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano into dough before shaping.
Originally published as Crusty Homemade Bread in Taste of Home November 2014, p20

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dig1 User ID: 6907234 259593
Reviewed Jan. 13, 2017


pschrumpf User ID: 3350413 259489
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2017

"Just a note. My kitchen is also cold. When I know I am going to make bread, I put the light on in the oven early in the morning. By afternoon the oven is just the right temp to allow the bread to raise perfectly"

Lorraine User ID: 8989853 258726
Reviewed Dec. 27, 2016

"I made this bread several times it is better than my regular white bread and easier. It is so tasty toasted, my family was here for Thanksgiving I made it with garlic it was gone in seconds. I have dough rising now and tomorrow when I bake it I will try the tip about baking it in a glass pie pan, I have been using a small round roasting pan and put parchment paper just on the sides, you can cut the top with scissors easier than a knife.i am Very grateful for this recipe, I am 76 and baking for a long time thank you taste of homr"

janet59 User ID: 3656577 257975
Reviewed Dec. 11, 2016

"Fantastic bread. It is well worth the time."

Tanya User ID: 6172479 257170
Reviewed Nov. 23, 2016

"absolutely loved this bread. This was my first attempt at bread making other than those boxed ones from the store and it was so easy. I am planning on making it again but I wanted to make smaller portions. I was thinking of turning the 1 loaf into 4 and par baking them for a later date but don't know how to change the baking time and temperature. Any suggestions?"

fjbrad User ID: 4980920 256923
Reviewed Nov. 18, 2016

"The resulting loaf is delicious. However I suspect that this recipe should be used as an argument for weighing ingredients. as my experience mirrored theangelicious1. I used the King Arthur 120 gm/cup ratio. The dough was never firm enough to form anything but a puddle. I have other recipes which make a loose dough but this was extreme. I will probably make this again with 5% more flour and the second lowest rack as the bottom was too well done."

theangelicious1 User ID: 8717920 256538
Reviewed Nov. 8, 2016

"Ok, so this isn't a terrible recipe, but it is impossible to follow the instructions. When I measured the ingredients and mixed them together as instructed, what it made could not really be described as dough. It was way too sticky to knead, and every time I tried, the whole thing got stuck to my hands, no matter how much flour I used. And when I tried to cut it as instructed in step 5, it was way too sticky to allow the knife to slide in, so it just dragged the dough to the side of the pan. Also, the dough never rose, during any of these steps. When I put it in the pan to bake, it spread out over the entire bottom of the pan, since it was too wet to form into anything resembling a loaf, so I ended up with more of a thin cake-shaped loaf the size of the pan. The bread itself is actually quite tasty, very soft and yummy, but since I followed the instructions to a T (as much as I was able) and sprinkled corn meal under the dough instead of using cooking spray as I should have, the whole thing was practically glued to the pan when it came out of the oven. It took me 20 minutes to saw through it to get it off the pan, and I broke my best metal turner trying to do it. I will make this recipe again, but I will definitely be modifying it first."

Ellenoid User ID: 8959844 255979
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2016

"Wonderful, and I didn't follow the overnight rising directions, for those of you with that question. I didn't read the whole recipe first (I know, I know) and started the bread at about 11:45 AM. Let it rise till 12:45, folded it and covered and let it rise again until 2PM. Put it in the fridge until 3:30 then kneaded it for about 5 min on a floured surface. It was very bouncy and I could hear air pockets popping so I made it into a round and put it on the cornmeal-covered cookie sheet. It was pretty chilly in my kitchen so I heated up the oven and also put on a pot of water to boil on the stove. I put the cookie sheet on top of the stove to warm up with the oven and boiling water. I know I sound like the biggest hillbilly but I'm just documenting things. SO: After about 30 min I did the flour on top/slashing with a knife thing and realized I didn't have any aluminum foil. So I just put it in the oven button the top rack for 20 min. When that time was up it was quite brown so I covered it with a deep cake pan and put a metal pan of water on the bottom rack of the oven and lowered the heat to 450 and cooked it for another 20 min. It was extremely crunchy and perfectly salty and very chewy and tender inside, My husband raved. I'm sure it's way better if you do it according to the directions but I know other people will wonder if they can skip the overnight-in-the-fridge part and still come out ok. The answer is yes."

LindaS_WI User ID: 7202558 255531
Reviewed Oct. 17, 2016

"Foolproof!!! And easy, too. This homemade bread recipe is the perfect one to start with if you've never made bread before. It's also perfect if you're an experienced baker. It turns out well each and every time I've tried it. It has a nice texture that's slightly chewy, which I personally love. I've tried all the versions and have even come up with my own. I've added a little more than 1 cup of assorted nuts and seeds; talk about yummy!!! I've also made a version using a number of different dried fruits. I think I used probably 1-1/2 cups total and it could have been more. LOVE THIS bread!!!"

David User ID: 6605980 254963
Reviewed Oct. 3, 2016 Edited Oct. 17, 2016

"I've made this recipe six times since I first saw it here last year. Absolutely wonderful! This is an excellent bread for dipping in your favorite olive oil mix. It's just as delicious with butter. Hard crust on the outside, excellent light texture on the inside. It's better than any bread I've been served in Italian restaurants.

I always tweak my favorite recipes a little. With this one I add some whole flax seed and sometimes wheat germ. I bake mine in glass pie pans rather than the disposable aluminum pans it calls for. The results have been consistent. My wife begs me to make this.
The two day prep time definitely requires planning ahead if you want to serve it with a special meal (I'd suggest lamb chops with mint seasoning) however the actual steps are easy but messy and can easily be done by the novice bread baker. Just keep a bowl of extra flower on hand during the folding process and coat your hands well with it first. Really sticky dough. I always double the recipe since it gets eaten so fast. I haven't had any problems result in doing this. I just make the square larger and after the last rise I cut the dough in half and shape it into two loaves."

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