Bountiful. Beautiful. Home Baked Bread.
If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars and all the heavens.
~ Robert Browning
Baking beautiful bread?
Bread. Beauty. Bounty (alliteration today is brought to you by Cara). Today is the day!
I’ve been excited about this one for weeks, that is ever since I discovered it (I haven’t stopped baking beautiful bread since that day).
This was a recipe I randomly & luckily stumbled upon, and I am not sure through which medium it actually came to me (I am thinking Pinterest) – however, it must be noted it was this amazing blog post that got me going.
Insert major gratitude here.
Over the years, I’ve certainly tried all manner of bread recipes. Yeast and flour and I have never really gotten each other, and it could be that the precise nature of all things baking just does not come naturally for me.
I am happy to say that I’ve finally found the one recipe that has made me a bread baker. The day has come, and now, if you want it, it is yours for the taking too!
Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.
~ James Beard
Not only must we be good, but we must be good for something.
~ Henry David Thoreau
It is true that not all good folks enjoy bread freely these days. With the rise in sensitivities to gluten, more and more people every day are avoiding the stuff.
Wheat being one of the oldest crops known to man-kind, it always seems crazy to me that evolution would take us down this road. Especially considering wheat’s status as the ‘staff of life’ and the fact it is an age-old source of sustenance that has been relied upon since the dawn of human existence.
Wheat berries are cheap, they can be grown all over the world, and in their whole form are full of sound vitamins, minerals, and other healthy nutritious properties.
Used in their most natural form, whole wheat berries can be made into all manner of salads, added to stews, or famously sprouted for making raw breads or used to make rejuvelac and to grow wheatgrass.
However, when wheat berries are milled, bleached, bagged, and left in giant storehouses to spoil & turn rancid, it’s no wonder that our bodies are struggling to recognize wheat for the simple, life-giving grain that it is.
Change your thoughts and you can change the world.
~ Norman Vincent Peale
So if you are sensitive to wheat & gluten, but can still eat it from time to time, do source out organic freshly milled flour if possible. You might just notice a difference in how you feel after eating it (or you might not).
Whole wheat, all-purpose, or white, the most important thing to know is that it is fresh.
Just like roasted coffee should be ground right before use, or nuts & oils can go rancid if left for long periods of time at the wrong temperature, all milled flours are susceptible to the same conditions, so use it fresh.
Like all of your food (if you can).
There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Less store-bought, packaged bread products means less cost, waste, and potential preservatives. Less reliance on commercial food supply lines means more control of your health, your home & your pocketbook. Less complicated recipes to produce authentic foods means more likelihood you’ll do it, because everyone deserves to be a baker (if desired).
More fresh-baked bread from freshly milled flour means (hopefully) fewer reasons for healthy bodies to reject it. More novice friendly methods means more confidence you can do it, so you can turn pro starting right now. More homemade comfort food on the table means more enjoyment all around, and isn’t that what we are all seeking after all?
Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread:
- (3) cups all-purpose flour
- (1/2) tsp active dry yeast
- (1 3/4) tsp salt
- (1.5 – 1.75 cups) cold water from the tap
- Whatever additions your heart desires: fresh or dried herbs like rosemary, grated cheddar cheese, dried fruits, nuts & seeds, the ideas are endless!
- One oven proof casserole with lid, preferably ceramic or cast iron (though I read you can use any oven proof dish and cover it with foil, I have an Emile Henry clay casserole I got for my wedding years ago)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the ingredients except for the water. Next, add the water (in bits or all at once) and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or tough plastic spatula.
Once mixed, the dough should be sticky, like the picture shown below.
Feel free to play with the amounts of water used as I have used anywhere from 1.5 cups (the original recipe amount) to almost 2 cups. A good friend of mine uses a bread recipe very similar to this and suggested to add more water particularly if I play with other flours – ie. a mix of white & whole wheat.
Once the dough is well mixed, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof on the kitchen counter for anywhere from 12 – 20 hours.
Seriously, this is (just one) of the beautiful things about this recipe.
You can start the dough at anytime and get to the baking when it works for you. I have baked after 12 hours proofing and I have baked after 22 hours proofing. All delicious, all the time.
When you are ready to bake (and have a free hour and a half), turn on the oven and heat it to 450 degrees. Once the temperature is reached, put your oven proof dish in the oven and heat it for 30 minutes.
Just before the heating time for the dish is ready, flour a work surface with a very generous handful of flour. With your hands, pull the proofed dough out of the bowl and set it atop the floured surface.
Shape the dough into a roundish loaf and evenly coat it with the flour. Don’t worry about any inconsistencies with the shape of the dough – it will all sort itself out in the baking process.
This is a no knead recipe. Yes, that is right, no kneading!
So. Very. Awesome.
Remove the hot pot -careful it will be HOT! – and place the dough carefully into the dish. No oil or anything required.
Place the lid on top (or foil if this is your method – use good oven mits!) and place the dish into the hot oven still set to 450 degrees.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, keeping the oven hot by not peeking (I love having a hot and heavy lid that prevents me from peeking).
I have done both times and prefer the 35 minute time, the crust gets (just a little) crustier that way, but feel free to play with a time that works for you.
After 30-35 minutes, carefully remove the dish from the oven, and voila! Hot, beautiful, glorious bread. Remove onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool before slicing.
For best keeping, do not store in a plastic bag until the loaf has cooled completely as this will diminish the crust on the loaf. A paper bag or on the counter is great right after it is made.
Though if you make this in time for a family meal I can almost guarantee leftovers will not be an issue.
Serve with soup, salad, curry, pasta, or make into crusty bread sandwiches with tofu steaks, cheese, lettuce, and ripe red tomatoes.
My personal favorite? Fresh out of the oven with butter. A bowl of hearty warm beans. And not a whole lot more (or less) 🙂
The history of the world is the record of a man in quest for his daily bread and butter.
~ Hendrick Willem Van Loon
Whatever makes up your daily bread, doing so with reverence and appreciation of all things past can give us a better understanding of how it is we got where we are today. Things don’t always get better with time (but thankfully many things do).
In our modern world full of processed, packaged, ‘middle grocery aisle’ foods, fresh foods from fresh ingredients are still best. It’s been that way for thousands of years. Funny how some things never change.
Fresh is still best.
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.
~ Dr. Seuss
If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
~ Mother Teresa
This recipe is cheap, easy, and simple in a world with so many options when it comes to tackling what (can be) one of the hardest foods to master in the kitchen.
Suitable for kitchen novices and experienced cooks alike, I’ve got full faith that anyone can be just hours away from blatant, breathtaking, bread-baking brilliance!
- Are you a bread baker?
- What is your favorite bread recipe?
We’re coming off a gorgeous holiday weekend here in beautiful Whistler (thanks to all for the truly fabulous company) – here’s to wishing all of my Canadian readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Next up, I’ve got the best brussels sprout salad you’ve ever had.
So stay tuned. It will be worth it, that I can promise you.
Yours in Less,
66 responses to “Recipe: Easy Crusty Home Baked Bread (Baked Beans on Toast – Part Two)”
Shira, I love bread and haven’t tried the no-knead breads yet. This sounds like a good reminder to do so. I have a bread machine, which I also love using. Nothing like waking to the smell of fresh bread. Beautiful pictures as usual.
Just an FYI–little typo–“her’s to wishing all of my Canadian readers”–“Here’s”. 🙂
Thanks for the typo – fix – done! 😉 I’ve never tried a bread machine but hear they do great work! X 🙂
Lovely post! Your bread looks absolutely beautiful, inside and out.
We’ve still never made a no-knead bread around here, but an oven-proof Dutch oven-type dish is on the someday wish list…
Thanks Allison! This was so easy it really did seem to good to be true…I’d love to see/hear how it turns out in a pan with foil..I am going to try that at some point myself! 🙂
I’ve been waiting for this one! I can hear the crunchy-crackle as I pull of a big, warm hunk!
Enjoy Annie! It’s just waiting for your creative additions….or just YOU! X
I am so excited about your post! I have been eagerly awaiting it since you talked about it in your last post (which also looks amazing and right up my alley). Baking bread has always intimidated me, but I think I can handle this! I am SO bothered by the bread options at the big chain grocery stores. I hate that something my kids like to eat every day is so full of unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients. Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for the post!
My pleasure, I am so glad to have discovered it and am able to share it! I agree with you on all counts when it comes to average grocery store options…this might just just do 🙂 Keep us posted! X
Beautiful bread! My favorite is homemade sourdough – like you said, fresh out of the oven – with butter. 😀
Looking forward to the Brussels sprout recipe!
Thanks Sarah! Sourdough is next…I’m totally with you on that 🙂 Stay tuned!
That is gorgeous bread and I agree with the sentiments of Mr. Beard… Oh yes.
I just knew you would 🙂 How could you not?!
Just a 1/2 tsp of yeast? I’m so excited to try this – looks amazing, but I wanted to double check that it’s the correct amount. Thanks, Shira! I love your blog!
That is correct! Just a half – I know it seems almost too good to be true 🙂 Thanks for checking Heather! Good luck!
Wow, this looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it myself. I’m a big fan of wheat berries, too — so tasty.
Thanks! Agreed on the wheat berries, I don’t use them enough but they are amazing! Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for this recipe! I love the way it looks!
So glad Heidi! It does taste as good as it looks too 🙂
Shira, I can’t wait to try this…in fact, I think I’m going to make it tonight and proof it overnight for dinner tomorrow 🙂 I can’t believe how easy it is and no kneading! I recently got into making bread, and there really is something therapeutic and comforting about the whole process. I love presenting my family with freshly baked bread. Have you substituted part whole wheat in this recipe and in what proportions?
Hi Maura! Awesome! You won’t be disappointed 🙂 I tried a full whole wheat version one night when I had used up all the white flour…truthfully it wasn’t to our taste but I would think (maximum) half and half would be good! My more experienced friend suggests 1/3 whole wheat and I think if I try it with other flours I will start with that – just be sure to add a little more water (never exceeding 2 cups though). Good luck! Let us know how it goes 🙂
Hi Shira! I tried it with 1/3 whole wheat and 2/3 all purpose flour. I used 1.75 cups of water, but I think next time I would only use 1.5 cups. Not sure if it is the humidity in Hawaii or what, but my dough was really liquidy when I checked on it at 20 hours. It was still very yummy and crusty though, after I baked it!
Hi Maura!! that is interesting – you might be right about the humidity – mine has been also very wet (but not liquidy) so maybe the 1.5 cups of water would be better…I find the inside to be so moist too which is why I love it so much. I definitely agree with your ratios for the next try too. Wasn’t it crazy easy? Happy it worked out in the end! Thanks for letting us know! 🙂 X
I think bread is a miracle. It wasn’t until I’d been cooking out of Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone that I decided to attempt homemade bread again. I figured she was right about everything else… why not? Even with the occasional dense loaf (I am impatient with the yeast), there is little I enjoy more than ripping into a fresh, hot, homemade loaf. Tonight ours was 100% white whole wheat with sunflower seeds. Yum.
Your bread sounds SO good! Enjoy! I am so with you….I do wish I could eat it all the time but alas I must be moderate…it’s difficult! 🙂
Just pinned this to my fall favorites board!! YUM!
Enjoy Liz! X 🙂 🙂
I was in love with this post, then I saw my favourite Dr. Seuss quote and my heart just melted. I have only baked my own bread a couple times, but fell in love with the results. For some reason it never stuck though. You are re-inspiring me!
Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving in Whistler 🙂
We did Gabby! Thanks! The weekend was spectacular (20+ degrees, amazing) – this bread is too easy no to try, then again it is a bit addicting…have a great week! Hope you had a great weekend too 🙂
Your bread is beautiful, Shira. I am a bread baker and I think my favorite bread is an oatmeal bread that uses maple syrup as the sweetener. It’s white and somewhat sweet, but contains rolled oats so it is healthier than some white breads — not much fat in it either.
That bread sounds yummy too Sharyn- is it posted on your blog? I love that about this recipe too as there is absolutely zero fat from oil at all 🙂 It’s awesome!
Hi Shira, I think it is on the blog in a post called something like “What’s for Breakfast When the Milk Is Gone?” It is a milk-free recipe that only calls for a tablespoon of fat — it does require kneading, but it is a sponge method, so you don’t have to knead it in its first stage.
Awesome – thanks Sharyn! 🙂 Have a fabulous day!
Reblogged this on A Multifarious Me and commented:
Oooooh, this looks and sounds yummy!
mhmm there is nothing better than homebaked crusty bread. I used to be so spoilt from my grandmother because she made a couple of fresh loafes every single week when i was little. for dipping and to match with baked beans, a white loaf is perfect.. and although i usually prefer the spelt and wholewheat ones, this one would be the one and only to match a stew! mhmmm
Agreed 100% Alexia! Perfect with baked beans and cozy stews! X
I can’t wait to try this, I love homemade bread!
Thanks Catherine! Enjoy! 🙂
Oh my. That looks incredible. Baking bread is so comforting and sociable. (I usually only make a loaf when I’m with friends, otherwise I’d eat the whole thing). On the topic of gluten intolerance – the fundamental cause is that modern wheat has been bread with a high gluten content which are difficult to digest. Ancient wheat had shorter protein (gluten) strands that were easier to digest. If you are sensitive using kamut or spelt flour, which are older forms of wheat and have shorter protein strands, may help stave off tummy trouble.
Thanks for the info on the gluten…this is super helpful! I’ve often thought this is why I have no issue eating bread in Europe – is it possible they are using ancient strains of wheat when we in North America are not? I personally have a bit of a sensitivity and go through phases…however in France I ate bread everyday with no issue at all 😉 I agree with you about baking for friends….it saves us from ourselves 100%! Great comment!
Shira! I’ve made the Jim Lahey/Mark Bittman versions a few times as well as the “artisan bread in 5 minutes a day” Love them all. And there are never any leftovers, can’t wait to try your version. I can tell from all the different loaves you’ve made how much your family adores this bread!!!
Awesome Somer! I’ve often seen delicious breads grace your blog…it honestly makes one feel so accomplished and nothing makes me happier than feeding the family with home baked bread 🙂 X When it is this easy there is just so many reasons why it is a good idea!
My grandma taught me how to bake bread the way her mother-in-law did every single day (she had 10 sons so she would bake about 3-4 loaves a day. I can’t even begin to imagine…). Aside from that bread recipe and pizza dough, I generally don’t have good luck with bread baking, though I always wish I was better.
This recipe looks so wonderful- I love that you can let it proof for 12-22 hours. That is a huge bonus for me! I cannot wait to give this a try. I’m so excited! Thank you! xo
I hope it works Kristy!! Keep us posted – I looooove that story about your grandmothers bread!! 🙂 Thanks for sharing that!! xox
I have a love affair with bread I never intend to break away from! I loveee bread, fresh bread is the best. This looks so delicious, even with the dollop of butter, YUM!
Thanks Britt! It’s hard to stop the love affair…it’s best to give in 🙂
Such crusty perfection my friend 😀
Choc Chip Uru
Perfect bread Shira – can’t wait to try it! Have always wanted to try to bake bread in an oven proof dish with a lid – so thank you, now is the time to try it 🙂
I agree! It’s a good time isn’t it! Hehe hope you enjoy it Anne! Thanks!
That looks like a different method to my normal way of making bread – not sure about how the recipe varies but I do have cup measures so will definitely be giving it a go, thanks!
My pleasure! I hope it works out!
ahhh a good bread always calls my name.. this one looks gorgeous!
YUM! All last winter I used a similar method from Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a day and it was dangerous – homemade bread everynight was addicting (but so good) – I am pretty sure I put on 5 pounds in that bread loving eating month :0
Haha! We should compare weight gain notes 🙂 I’ve since cooled it this week and am back to veggies! Love it Heather! X
Oh dear lord. Baked beans on home made bread? That sounds heavenly. I love baked beans on toast for breakfast! I bet yours takes the proverbial cake! 🙂
Thanks Jennifer!! My fave too 🙂 This version is goooooooooood! 🙂
I’ve been making this bread for a couple years now and we all devour it as soon as it comes steaming from the oven! It’s the absolute best, and your photos are delicious! xx
Thanks! I knew there would be other kitchen savvy blogging friends that already knew of this magical bread 🙂 I am late to the party but boy am I glad I came!! Love it Spree! 🙂
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Hi, made this bread using your method (didn’t quite get the recipe quantities right for various reasons so used a slightly different white bread recipe). Love it, thank you! Will be blogging it with due credit!
So glad and of course! Blog away – if only everyone could know how wonderfully easy it is to make amazing bread at home 🙂 So happy it worked out! Thanks! 🙂
So when I first read that you had been crazy about this bread and making it every day, I might have passed a couple subconscious judgments. The word crazy might have been echoed. Then I made the bread. Yesterday, when I mixed it up, I was disappointed that I had to wait 12 hours. This morning I baked it, was tortured with the smell as I wrote my blog post, and have since eaten about half of the loaf. It is amazing and fool proof. To test that last sentiment, I’m going to try to convince my husband to make the next loaf… Thank you for sharing, and I either no longer think you are crazy, or have become crazy, too! 🙂
Wonderful news! I never mind being called crazy – and I am so happy it worked out! Let us know how the husband makes out 🙂 XO Thanks!
I just took it out of the oven and it looks and smells perfect;)
Wonderful – I am so happy it turned out! It really is fail proof, no? 🙂
It is;) the next step will be the beans…will let you know!
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