This homemade crusty bread is so simple (and relatively fast) to put together, even the greenest of aspiring bread makers will be amazed at the results of their efforts. I’m living proof (pun intended.)
Homemade Crusty Bread
Growing up in a big Mennonite family where my mom typically made cakes, pies, and bread every day as just a small part of her daily routine, I took many of those skills for granted. Then, I grew up and tried to grow a huge garden, like my mom. Not so easy. I tried to iron my clothes, like my mom. Not so easy. And I tried to make my own bread, like my mom. Again and again and again and always not so easy. Until this homemade crusty bread recipe came along. I’m not kidding. It’s nearly fail proof.
Part of the ease of making this homemade crusty bread, is the short list of ingredients. Aside from water, there are only three others:
It doesn’t get much simpler than that. No buttermilk, no scalded milk, no unusual ingredients.
This homemade crusty bread uses an age-old method of creating a perfectly crunchy and crusty outside. Placing some hot water in a hot pan (heated in the oven) creates a steam bath that encases the dough and ensures you get a crisp finish. Another secret to ensuring a crisp crust on the bottom: place the dough on a hot stone when it goes in the oven. There are two easy ways of doing this, once the dough is ready to bake.
- You can dust a pizza peel with corn flour and allow the loaf(s) to rest there (in the final raising stage). Once it’s ready to bake, simply place the pizza peel on the hot baking stone and the unbaked bread will slide off nicely.
- Another method of easily transferring the unbaked bread to a hot baking stone is to allow the loaf(s) to rest on a sheet of parchment paper (in the final raising stage.) When the dough is ready for the oven, simply transfer the parchment paper directly to the hot stone and you will achieve the same crispy crust on the bottom.
Either of these methods work well for creating a crisp bottom to a pizza crust as well.
This homemade crusty bread can be made in about 3 hours, start to finish, with only about 10 minutes of that time involving actively preparing the recipe. The majority of time involves rising and baking. Thus, you can make delicious bread with the perfect crust when entertaining and your guests will think you slaved for hours in preparing it. As a bonus, the dough refrigerates nicely, up to a week or two so you can bake it when you like. One more thing, if you’ve never had toast from homemade bread, you don’t know what you’re missing. I kid you not.
Give this homemade crusty bread recipe a try soon, even if you have no confidence in your bread making ability. This recipe is a game changer and I’m living proof. It’s not my mom’s recipe but it’s not bad. -Dan
Homemade Crusty Bread
Fast and simple to make, this homemade crusty bread recipe is perfect for the novice baker or the award-winning breadsmith.
- 3 1/4 cups water lukewarm, about 100° F.
- 1.5 tbsp dry active yeast
- 6 1/2 cups flour bread flour if you have it.
- 1.5 tbsp kosher salt
Combine water and yeast and stir until the yeast is dissolved. Add flour and salt and mix until thoroughly combined.
Allow dough to rise for 2 hours at room temperature, covered with a kitchen towel.
Apply light dusting of flour over dough and divide it in half and shape into 2 loaves, rounding the top. If you only want to make one loaf of bread at this time, store the unused dough in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 weeks until ready to use.
Place unbaked loaf(s) on pizza peel that is lightly dusted with cornmeal. Apply light dusting of flour over top and cut three slashes into top of dough, using a searrated knife. Cover dough with kitchen towel and allow to rest for 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450° F with baking stone on center wrack. When bread is ready to go in the oven, slide the dough off pizza peel onto hot stone. Place 1 cup hot water into oven broiler (or other oven safe pan), on bottom wrack of oven. Quickly close oven door to created a steam bath within the oven. This will help produce a crisp outer crust.
Bake for 30 minutes and allow to cool slightly before slicking. Enjoy!