Crusty Artisan Bread made with only 4 simple ingredients: flour, water, salt, & yeast. A beautiful crusty artisan bread, it has a wonderful crispy crust on the outside & the inside is soft & dense.
This is the simplest bread recipe I have ever made! This recipe only has 4 ingredients in it & chances are you probably already have at least 3 out of the 4 ingredients on hand: water, flour, salt, & yeast. If you have never made bread before then this recipe is a great place to start! I love that this recipe doesn’t require the use of a bread machine or for you to spend any time kneading dough. You just mix it up in a bowl & let it rise. The only thing hard about this recipe is having the patience to wait for the dough to rise. From start to finish it takes about 3 hours but the majority of that time is spent just waiting for the dough to rise & then bake in the oven.
Everyone in my family loves this bread so much that I try to make it once a week. I love to make this bread to go with dinner, it tastes so good served warm from the oven with butter. It stays fresh & great tasting for a few days after you make it too. I love to use the leftovers to slice up & eat it with butter on top or to make sandwiches.
The recipe below is half of the original recipe because I didn’t want to make a huge batch of bread. With this recipe I like to make 2 smaller sized loaves instead of one big one but you can make it however you like. I also chose to bake mine on a cookie sheet instead of a baking stone because it was easier.
Source: This recipe is from the amazing book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (amazon affiliate) by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois. The authors also have a great video on YouTube that is very helpful: Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. For more information on this bread you can also visit the website they have: Artisan Bread in Five.
- 1½ Cups warm water
- ½ Tablespoons + ¼ Teaspoon Salt
- ½ Tablespoon Yeast (I used Red Star Quick-Rise Yeast)
- 3¼ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Add yeast to large mixing bowl, next add warm water to activate the yeast.
- Add flour & salt to the large mixing bowl & stir all the ingredients together.
- The bread should be just a little sticky but not too much, if it's really sticky & wet add a little extra flour, if the dough is super dry then add a little more water (sometimes I have to add a little extra water to mine).
- Cover the bowl but not airtight (I placed a clean kitchen towel over the top of the bowl) & let it rise for 2 hours.
- After 2 hours place the dough onto a well floured surface. If you want to make 2 smaller sized loafs of bread then divide the dough in half.
- Shape the dough by picking it up & using your hands to fold the edge of the dough under until you have a round loaf shape with smooth edges. Place onto a greased cookie sheet.
- Using a serrated knife cut the loaf (about a ¼ inch) into the center & then also make one about 1 inch to the left of center & one to the right so the top doesn't crack while its baking (See picture above).
- Let it rise for 40 more minutes.
- After the 40 minutes, preheat oven to 450 degrees BUT first place a metal 9x13 inch pan onto the bottom rack of your oven (*WARNING*: Do Not use glass, it can explode or shatter!)
- When the oven is preheated place cookie sheet with bread onto the middle rack of your oven then quickly add 1 cup of water to the bottom 9x13 pan you have on the bottom rack. This pan is used to create a steam in the oven while the bread bakes, in the end it will make your bread have a nice hard crusty texture on the outside but still be soft inside.
- Bake for 18-30 minutes or until the top & bottom are a nice golden brown color. If your making 2 small loaves it will probably be done in 18-20 minutes but if your making one large loaf it will take longer.
- Remove from oven & let it cool for awhile so it will slice easier, then enjoy!
I don’t like to stay in the kitchen to long. this is great! thank you two so much. There is nothing like a good old fresh bread on the dinner table and sandwihces.
This is one of my favorite bread recipes to make because it doesn’t require too much time or effort. Hope you like it!
On the cook time thing at the top of the ingredients list it said that it would take 2 hrs and 30 mins, but the directions said to let it rise 2 hrs the first time and 40 mins the second time. Did the time change or was that an error?
The directions are correct Julie.
Can I bake this in a pottery bread bowl ?
Hi Diane, I don’t see why this couldn’t be baked in an oven safe pottery bread bowl. I haven’t tried it with this recipe but it is a rustic type bread that should work.
What is the nutrition valves on this bread?
Hi Melanie, It would depend on what brand and type of flour you use. You can probably find a website that allows you to plug your ingredients in and create a nutritional value chart. Thanks!
Can you add seeds to dough?
Hi Grace, I have not tried it but I think adding seeds to the dough would be fine. Thanks.
thanks for this recipe . It was my first time making bread. I did have a slight problem thought. After it rose for the 2 hours I formed into round loaves. After the 40 minutes it really spread out and flattened. The bread was great but the shape wasn’t. I didn’t want to change the shape after it flattened as I wasn’t sure if this would change it . Would you have any tips to stop this happening. Thanks :)
Hi Gerard, I have had that happen to me before, were the bread flattens out during the second rise. I have found that rolling it into a tighter ball and adding extra flour when rolling it out helps. I have also found that using unbleached all purpose flour works better then bleached for holding its shape.
Janine Adams says
Excellent taste and smell in the kitchen and quick to make, added a tsp of sugar to help the yeast foam up. Good recipe thanks
So glad you liked the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to comment, we appreciate it.
Semi Skip says
I use this recipe for raisin cinnamon bread.
I like to Roll the cinnamon and brown sugar up like a cinnamon roll and bake it in a loaf pan.
So glad you liked the bread recipe. Raisin Cinnamon Bread sounds delicious. I’m glad the recipe works in a loaf pan. Thanks for taking the time to share, we appreciate it.