Crusty Homemade Bread Recipe

4.5 37 32
Crusty Homemade Bread Recipe
Crusty Homemade Bread Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Publisher Photo

Crusty Homemade Bread Recipe

Read Reviews
4.5 37 32
Publisher Photo
Crackling homemade bread makes an average day extraordinary. Enjoy this beautiful crusty bread recipe as is, or stir in a few favorites like cheese, garlic, herbs and dried fruits. —Megumi Garcia, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
MAKES:
16 servings
TOTAL TIME:
Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 50 min. + cooling
MAKES:
16 servings
TOTAL TIME:
Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 50 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

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 and let rise at room temperature 1 hour.
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 and let rise at room temperature until almost doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch down dough and repeat folding process. Return dough to bowl; refrigerate, covered, overnight.
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 and let rise at room temperature until dough expands to a 7-1/2-in. loaf, about 1-1/4 hours.
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.
Reduce oven setting to 450°. Remove foil; bake bread until deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes. 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.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Don't have a foil pan? A Dutch oven works great as well, but it's quite a bit smaller so it's best to halve the recipe.
  • The key to this loaf's crusty exterior? Steam! Trapping moisture in the pan for the initial cook time and using high heat ensure bread your guests will think came from the local bakery.
  • Originally published as Crusty Homemade Bread in Taste of Home November 2014, p20

    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.

    • 1-1/2 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
    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 and 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 and 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 and 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 until deep golden brown, 25-30 minutes. 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.

    Test Kitchen Tips
  • Don't have a foil pan? A Dutch oven works great as well, but it's quite a bit smaller so it's best to halve the recipe.
  • The key to this loaf's crusty exterior? Steam! Trapping moisture in the pan for the initial cook time and using high heat ensure bread your guests will think came from the local bakery.
  • Originally published as Crusty Homemade Bread in Taste of Home November 2014, p20

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    Reviews forCrusty Homemade Bread

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    MY REVIEW
    Richard User ID: 9397941 281785
    Reviewed Jan. 9, 2018

    "I have made this recipe several times. So far the best I have made was with the addition of everything bagel seasoning to the dry ingredients. It makes this bread pop with flavor. The crust is amazing and the inside is wonderfully chewey. A few recommendations I have are that you need to make sure you cover the whole thing in flower so it won't stick to the roasting pan. If you do that it slides around very easily and comes off the pan with no problem. Also instead of hand working the dough I do everything in a stand mixer with a dough hook. No hand kneading is needed and when you do need to kneed it(once an hour) all you do is drop the hook in and let it got for 30 seconds. With the use of a bowl scraper it easily pours into the roasting pan. Ready for shaping. In my experience, this recipe makes a 18 inch loaf that is about 5 inches wide and 3 inches tall."

    MY REVIEW
    Kathryn User ID: 9139299 281617
    Reviewed Jan. 6, 2018

    "In the last month or so I have made this bread no less than 15 times. Made 4 loaves for Christmas gifts for people who had tasted it and loved it. We haven’t bought bread since I started making this. So simple and soooo good! Have one in the oven now!"

    MY REVIEW
    mancooking User ID: 4959700 276123
    Reviewed Dec. 22, 2017

    "All went well in making this bread except for the outcome. I had placed the bread on the bottom rack as recipe calls for but after 20 minutes the bottom had burned to the pan ( I used glass pie pan as someone suggested). I took off the foil cover and baked another 20 minutes at 450 and it browned nicely. However I had to separate the bread from the dish and had to saw with a serrated knife the burned bottom of the bread. bread still tasted good, however getting the burned material off the pie dish was very difficult. I think 500 degrees is just too hot for this recipe and will try again but put the pan in the middle of the oven. Next time I will use a different pan also.

    Just tried this recipe again and still ended up with a burnt bottom even though I put it on aluminum foil in a 9 X 9 cake pan that I had put down a layer of corn meal on the bottom and placed the sticky dough on that surface. I also put the bread in the middle of the oven instead of the bottom shelf hoping to avoid another burnt bread bottom. Also only left it in the oven uncovered for 18 minutes instead of the 25 to 30 minutes. How do I avoid this bread from burning again. The rest of the bread was fine but not easy to cut off the burnt section."

    MY REVIEW
    Deb User ID: 9354165 278946
    Reviewed Dec. 9, 2017

    "Horrible. It was just a sticky mess. No way to fold a pile of sticky wet dough. Put it all right in the garbage. That’s 3 1/2 cups of flour and one hour of my life I will never get back."

    MY REVIEW
    Gerald User ID: 9331662 278121
    Reviewed Nov. 21, 2017

    "An amazing recipe, I substituted half the flour for King Arthur Organic whole wheat flour and this bread turned out amazing. A wonderful crumb with a delicious chewy inside. The cooking instructions were spot on and worked perfectly even though I was worried bout the high temp and low rack. Going to make it again for Thanksgiving ! Thanks for a great and easy recipe"

    MY REVIEW
    harperauld User ID: 8485309 276329
    Reviewed Oct. 15, 2017

    "I had a sticky mess. What was feeding the yeast? There was no sugar in the recipe. Either it needed much more flour or a lot less water. Just stuck to my hands and fingers. Was impossible to get into a 3 inch square since it wouldn't hold its shape. Glad the ingredients were not expensive!"

    MY REVIEW
    OmaofSix User ID: 6981430 276217
    Reviewed Oct. 12, 2017

    "This bread is amazing. My husband loved the crispy crust. I also baked it in a Dutch oven. I will be making this often. Thank you for posting this recipe."

    MY REVIEW
    OmaofSix User ID: 6981430 276215
    Reviewed Oct. 12, 2017

    "This bread is delicious. My husband loved the crispy crust. I also baked it in a Dutch oven. I will be making this often. Thanks for posting this recipe."

    MY REVIEW
    Charleen User ID: 9271537 274860
    Reviewed Oct. 4, 2017

    "Can this bread be made in a bread machine and if so, how long should it be baked?"

    MY REVIEW
    Daryl User ID: 9213507 269041
    Reviewed Jul. 5, 2017

    "Great bread. Have a good, sharp serrated knife, or an electric knife to slice it, because the crust is wonderfully stout and delicious, with a nice, soft inside. The dough is quite sticky, and I tried using flour on my hands, but I found that olive oil rubbed onto my hands worked like a dream with no ill effects on the bread. I still used flour for the surface, though. I'd love to make a pizza crust with it, but I don't want to mess up a batch."

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