This recipe for Rustic Crusty Bread is my go-to bread recipe whenever I have a hankering for warm bread. I love bread! I’ll eat it from anywhere, even a factory. I’m not embarrassed either. Sometimes all you need in life is a peanut butter and jelly or bologna sandwich using super soft white bread. The kind that sticks to your teeth with no nutritional value whatsoever.
But, homemade bread, warm from the oven, slathered in butter takes the cake in my book. Rustic Crusty Bread is also really good when toasted. I find that I usually need to run through my toaster cycle twice though.
This recipe is easy to make. It requires no kneading, no fancy mixers, and is pretty darn hard to screw up. Trust me, I have yet to totally fail with this method. I may have struggled getting it shaped and dropped into my pan when I first started making this. Don’t worry if you struggle too, even if it’s ugly, it’s delicious. You will get better with it the more you practice and eventually it will be no big deal to whip up a quick loaf of bread.
The only drawback to this crusty bread is the time involved in waiting. If you know me at all, you already know that patience is not my best virtue.
You can make this as two smaller loaves, or one large loaf. I prefer one large loaf and I use my big cast iron skillet to cook it in.
If you prefer to make smaller loaves, or different shapes, King Arthur Flour’s Crusty Bread recipe has more information on shaping and forming than I provide in my recipe.
In a large bowl, combine water and yeast. Whisk until no lumps of yeast are floating around.
Add flour and salt to the bowl.
Mix well with a large spoon until all flour is absorbed, wooden spoons work best.
Cover bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside for at least 2 hours, but not longer than 5 hours.
Spray cast iron skillet, or other large oven safe vessel, with baking spray. Set aside. 2 loaf pans can be used instead.
Remove towel from the bowl and deflate the dough.
With a spatula, start pulling the dough into the middle of the bowl while lightly sprinkling flour over the area just pulled from the side of the bowl.
Once the dough is free from the bowl, gather it into a ball as best as you can.
Place the dough into the skillet and cover with a clean kitchen towel.
Allow dough to raise for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Remove towel from bread.
Place into preheated oven.
Cook for 25 minutes.
Remove from oven.
Remove from baking pan and place on clean kitchen towel to cool.
Other Bread Recipes to try: