Easy No-Knead Crusty Bread

Easiest way to make delicious crusty bread and no kneading required! All you need is 4 simple ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time. Then let the bread rise and bake to perfection. It’s soft and chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. So good!

crusty bread with butter and honey

I love a loaf of warm, freshly baked bread! It’s seriously the best! Smear a slice with lots of butter (and honey if I’m feeling something sweet), and I’m a happy girl! Being that this bread is seriously SO easy to make, I’ve been making it on repeat.

Bread making can be intimidating. It seems like such a complicated process, but it’s honestly not, especially this no-knead recipe! If you’re a first time bread maker then this recipe is for you!! You’ll impress yourself and everyone who eats it! I promise. If you have experience with bread making, this recipe is great when you don’t have a lot of time on your hands. I wasn’t kidding when I said it only takes 10 minutes of prep time, maybe even less! To make the bread dough, mix together flour, yeast, salt (once I forgot the salt and the bread was NOT good) and warm water. That’s it! Yes, it does still require rise time (about 2-3 hours), but that doesn’t require any work on your end. Once the dough has doubled in size transfer it from the bowl to a parchment lined dutch oven and bake until the outside is crusty and the inside is soft, fluffy and chewy!

This no-knead crusty bread is seriously perfect for so many things! Dipping in soup, making grilled cheese, toast and eggs, toasted with butter and honey… the options are endless! This is my go-to bread recipe because it hardly takes anytime to prepare and doesn’t get as messy as bread recipes that require kneading. Both are wins for me!

sliced bread
homemade bread in dutch oven

Only 4 ingredients needed!

Flour. I recommend either bread flour or all-purpose flour. Both result in great bread! Bread flour has a higher protein content, resulting in a chewier bread, which I like when it comes to crusty bread!

Yeast. This recipe calls for instant (quick rise) yeast. I have not tried it with active dry yeast, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work as long as you let the bread rise long enough to double in size.

Salt. Don’t forget the salt! I once forgot to add salt and the bread was NOT good. I ended up throwing it away. It’s amazing what salt adds to the recipe. So much flavor. Without it all I could taste was yeast.

Warm water. The water should be between about 110-120 degrees F. If the water is too cold the yeast won’t activate. If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. BUT, don’t let that scare you. The temperature doesn’t have to be exact. You just want the water to be about the temperature of warm bath water.

bread dough
How the bread dough should look after you mix together the ingredients.
risen bread dough
The bread dough doubled in size. It’s ready to bake!

Tips and Tricks.

The dough needs a warm environment to rise. If my house is chilly (especially in the winter), I like to turn my oven on to the lowest temperature for 1-2 minutes then turn it off and place the bread dough inside. This gives the dough a warm place to rise. I also once sat bread dough next to a warm air vent in our house. Worked like a charm. Don’t be afraid to get creative 😉

Scoop and level the flour. As always, I recommend using a spoon to scoop the flour into the measuring cup and then level it off so it’s flat. Scooping your measuring cup directly into the flour packs it in too tight and you’ll likely end up with too much flour. Too much flour = dry bread.

Refrigerate the dough if time allows. Once the dough has doubled in size, place the covered dough in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours. This stops the rising process and lets the flavors enhance. But, if you don’t have time that’s perfectly fine too. I’ve baked this bread plenty of times without refrigerating it first.

Don’t have a dutch oven? You can still make the bread! The reason behind using a dutch oven to bake bread is that it locks in steam, allowing the center of the bread to rise and evenly bake without the outside of the bread cooking too fast (otherwise the outside would burn and the center of the bread would still be doughy). Removing the lid that last 10-15 minutes lets the steam release and bread to get it’s crusty, golden exterior. That said, if you don’t have a dutch oven, here is a good article I found on different ways to create steam in your oven without one: How to Make Crusty Bread without a Dutch Oven. But, I highly recommend buying a dutch oven 🙂 I use mine quite frequently for baking bread and also for making soups and stews. Click here for the Lodge 6 quart Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven that I have. I like Lodge because their prices are reasonable and the quality is good.

Kick up the flavor! If you’re feeling it, add cheese, jalapeños, herbs, garlic, onion, or whatever your heart desires to the bread dough!

More fun baking recipes!

Caramel Pecan Sticky buns

Blueberry Muffins with Sugar Cooke Streusel

4-Ingredient Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

Easy No-Knead Crusty Bread

Easiest way to make delicious crusty bread and no kneading required! All you need is 4 simple ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time. Then let the bread rise and bake to perfection. It's soft and chewy on the inside and crusty on the outside. So good!
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Side
Servings 1 loaf

Ingredients
  

  • 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons insant yeast (1 packet)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups warm water (about 110 – 120 degrees F)

Instructions
 

  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast and salt.
  • Pour in the warm water and use a sturdy spoon to mix together until fully combined. The dough should be wet and shaggy but not runny.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Optional: once the dough has doubled in size you can store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours for enhanced flavor development, or you can bake it right away.
  • When you're ready to bake, put the dutch oven with the lid on in the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  • Lighlty sprinkle a work surface with about a tablespoon of flour. Scrape the dough out of the bowl onto your floured surface and roughly form into a ball. No need for it to be anywhere near perfect. It'll look nice once it bakes. Place the dough ball seam side down on a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Once the oven is preheated, remove the hot dutch oven and transfer the parchment paper with the dough to the dutch oven. Cover with the lid and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and bake an additional 10-15 minutes until golden and crispy on top.
  • Lift the parchment paper with the bread from the dutch oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes, then slice and enjoy!
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to hear from you! Rate the recipe and leave a comment below or share a picture on Instagram and tag @ModernFarmhouseEats

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