Crusty Homemade Bread
Total TimePrep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 50 min. + cooling
Makes1 loaf (16 slices)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1-3/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3-1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal or additional flour
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Using a rubber spatula, stir in 3-1/2 cups flour and salt to form a soft, sticky dough. Do not knead. Cover and let rise at room temperature 1 hour.
- Stir down dough (dough will be sticky). Turn onto a floured surface; with floured hands pat into a 9-in. square. Fold square into thirds, forming a 9x3-in. rectangle. Fold rectangle into thirds, forming a 3-in. square. Place in a large greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. 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.
- Grease the bottom of a disposable foil roasting pan with at least 4-in.-high sides; dust pan with cornmeal. Turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead gently 6-8 times; shape into a 6-in. round loaf. Place into 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.
Crusty Homemade Bread Tips
Why do bakers put flour on top of bread?Bakers dust the tops of bread loaves with flour before scoring to give the bread a rustic appearance.
Why does steam make bread crusty?Once steam hits the outer layer (crust), the starches on the surface gelatinize. When mixed with the oven's heat, this causes the outer layer to harden and give it that crackly consistency.
What do you eat with crusty bread?This bread is so delicious on its own with a heavy smear of butter, jam or honey. But it’s also perfect for dunking in your favorite sauce or soup (like creamy white chili) or marinara sauce. A fresh green salad is also a nice accompaniment.
How can you tell when bread is finished baking?The traditional method to test the doneness of bread is to tap on the bottom of the loaf and listen for a hollow thump. But if you are unsure, double-check the internal temperature of the loaf; it should be 200° to 210°. Don't have a foil pan for baking? A Dutch oven works great as well, but you should halve the recipe.
What temperature should you proof yeast at?To proof yeast, it should be proved and dissolved in warm water with a temperature between 110-115°.
What variations could you make of this crusty bread recipe?You can make cheddar cheese, rustic cranberry and orange or garlic and oregano variations. After refrigerating dough overnight, knead in 4 ounces diced sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup dried cranberries and 4 teaspoons grated orange peel or 1/2 cup liquified garlic (to liquify, just add 1/4 cup 2% milk, microwave on high for 45 seconds and discard milk) and 2 tablespoons minced fresh oregano before shaping.
Jun 13, 2020
This is my husband’s favorite bread. I just started baking bread and have tried several different types of bread recipes but this is the best. It comes out beautifully each time, crunchy crust and soft inside. I use instant yeast and mix it in with the flour and salt and then add the warm water. It raises nicely and seems almost fluffier than with active dry yeast. I accidentally ordered 2 lbs of instant yeast and didn’t want to waste it so I gave it a try. No problems. I otherwise follow the recipe exactly as stated and bread comes out perfectly exact time. This has replaced store bought bread and I bake for my friends, etc.
Apr 28, 2020
Amazing and so easy!!!!!
Apr 27, 2020
This was my first ever attempt at making bread... and I was amazed! It turned out perfectly! My bread needed more time than the recipe but besides that it was perfect!
Apr 20, 2020
The best bread I ever made!!
Apr 13, 2020
This bread was wonderful! I made it yesterday to go with my prime rib. Got raves! Although folding sticky dough was a very different way of making bread, it was delicious. I put olive oil all over the top just before baking and baked at 425 degrees for the first half hour and then another 25 minutes at 375 degrees. Yummy!
Apr 12, 2020
I can't even tell you how many times I have made this bread. #1 suggestion if the bread is either under cooked or over cooked, get an oven thermometer . Foil pan is essential, I buy a 4 pack and use it over and over. Best bread and very easy. Good luck ya'll don'y give up!
Apr 11, 2020
Turned out quite good for me! I used water at 110F for the yeast and followed the written recipe. For baking, I didn't have a foil pan. I just used a 9x13 nonstick cake pan and formed the foil into more of a dome on top (still sealed all the edges around the pan) and baked it on the bottom rack for 25 min at 500F. I then turned it down to 450F, removed the foil and cooked for 10 mins. In the future, I will add 5-10 mins more at 450F. I was worried about it getting overcooked like many reviews mentioned. It was cooked thoroughly but was a little too soft toward the center. Turned out beautifully light golden brown and the flavor development was really good. My two friends that tried it enjoyed it as well. Pairs well with egg and avocado :)
Apr 9, 2020
It’s a little tricky and confusing as video and written instructions not the same. I’ve made this bread 4 times now and in reply to MaryAnn and Emma, hopefully it helps! Water temperature I used 45C / 113F. Either way, just make sure it’s warm not hot, like drinkable warm. It is fine if it’s wet just keep adding flour after first rest and make sure to powder your hand with flour so it doesn’t stick much. To Emma, bake at low rack around 200C / 392F or 400F (round up) for 30 minutes, and maintain the same temperature when you baked uncovered. I baked uncovered all the way at 200C for 55 minutes, the top is not that hard but i love it that way. If you want crusty crackling crust, then cover! I hope this helps! All the best!
Apr 5, 2020
I watched the video and it shows the water temp should be 70-75 degrees while the written instructions say 110-115 degrees. Anyway, I tried making it twice (once with the water at the lower temp and one at the higher temp) but each time the dough did not bubble like in the video...it was just a big wet mess. I used the one and three-quart cups of water like the recipe says and the one and a half teaspoons of yeast. Any ideas as to what is going wrong here. I didn’t have unbleached flour so I used bleached AP flour but I can’t imagine that would make a difference. Help, please!
Apr 5, 2020
I followed this recipe’s exact instructions and my bread ended up burning. Wish I would’ve seen all the other reviews and taken it out earlier. Kind of feels like a waste, but I’ll try again next time with modifications.