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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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."

Jenna092 User ID: 7825623 242407
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2016

"The taste is 5-star delicious! My main complaint is that there are quite a few steps and takes considerable time to prepare. However, we will make this again!"

LuvYa User ID: 7878900 235798
Reviewed Oct. 28, 2015

"can this bread be made the same day and skip putting it in the frig overnight?

OR is that what makes this bread special? Maxine"

MIDDIES55 User ID: 398445 235375
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2015

"This is really a great basic bread recipe and I like that it can be made the day before. I spread sesame seeds in the bottom instead of the cornmeal and also misted the bread with water after I let it rise and sprinkled sesame seeds on top. I also popped in a couple of baking potatoes, at the same time, for dinner. The next day I toasted some bread for breakfast and it was SUPER!! This is a nice moist bread and has great texture."

JMJ47 User ID: 8559225 235050
Reviewed Oct. 16, 2015

"Nice crusty bread and easy to make."

randcbruns User ID: 828588 223003
Reviewed Mar. 17, 2015

"This is a great recipe. It turns out prefect every time I make it. My family asks for it at least once a week."

Orbs User ID: 7287623 215348
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2014

"Great to be able to prepare ahead. I made it with 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour and 1 cup of pecan meal. We are vegetarians and I like to add protein to my recipes. The pecan meal also gave the bread a nice brown color. Thanks, Megumi, for sharing this recipe."

JulieE123 User ID: 6292128 128076
Reviewed Nov. 15, 2014

"This bread is incredible! We have been making the cheddar version every weekend since I found the recipe. It comes out perfect and is great with a soup or italian meal. This last time, I cut the dough in half at the 4th step and made two smaller loafs....perfect!"

ChefKat User ID: 789925 189801
Reviewed Nov. 10, 2014

"After using similar recipes that called for specialty equipment and produced varying results, I was really intrigued by the simplicity of this recipe and the use of a a foil roasting pan. This is now my favorite way to make homemade bread, I've made it several times in a week and shared with neighbors and friends, each loaf has turned out beautifully and gotten rave reviews. This one is a keeper for sure!!!"

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