Crusty Artisan Bread
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This crusty bread recipe is astonishingly easy — no kneading required — and it makes three beautiful loaves, which you can bake as needed.
This homemade artisan bread recipe is astonishingly easy, and it makes enough for three delicious loaves, which you can bake as needed. What’s more, the dough takes just five minutes to make, does not require kneading or any special equipment, and can rest in the fridge for up to two weeks (the flavor becomes more complex the longer it sits). The recipe is modestly adapted from one of my favorite baking books, Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg M.D. and Zoë François.
What You’ll Need To Make Crusty Artisan Bread
This recipe has just four ingredients: all-purpose flour, instant yeast, kosher salt, and water. (The cornmeal is for dusting the pan.) As you can see, I use instant (or rapid-rise) yeast. Active dry yeast may be used instead of instant yeast, however, the dough will take longer to rise. To give active dry yeast a boost, you can dissolve it in the lukewarm water and let it sit until frothy, about 10 minutes. After that, add it to the flour and proceed with the recipe.
How To Make Crusty Artisan Bread
In a very large (6-quart) bowl, combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Mix to combine.
Add 3 cups of lukewarm water (no need to be exact but lukewarm is about 100°F).
Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is uniformly moist, without any patches of flour.
The dough should be sticky and conform to the shape of the bowl. If your dough is too dry, add a few tablespoons more warm water. If it’s too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter in a warm spot for 2 hours. As you can see below, it will rise a lot!
When you’re ready to bake a loaf, pull out one-third of the dough.
Coat the outside lightly with flour (you don’t want to incorporate more flour into the dough, you just want to be able to handle it). Gently work the dough into a smooth ball, stretching the surface and tucking the ends underneath.
Put the dough ball onto a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet and let rest at room temperature, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. (If the dough has been refrigerated, allow it to rise for 60 minutes, or up to 90 minutes if you want a more open and airy crumb structure.) The dough will rise a bit. It may also spread/flatten a bit; that’s okay.
The dough will rise a bit.
Generously dust the dough with flour. Using a sharp knife, make a few 1/2-inch-deep slashes in the dough — a scallop, cross, or tic tac toe pattern all look nice.
Set a metal pan on the bottom rack of a preheated 450°F-oven. Slide the baking sheet with the dough into the oven, and carefully fill the metal cake pan with one cup of hot tap water. This creates steam in the oven. (Try to do this quickly so as not to let heat out of the oven.) Bake until the loaf is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
This bread is best enjoyed fresh on the day it is made. Once sliced, place the loaf cut-side down on a cutting board or plate and leave it uncovered.
How To Freeze
The dough can be portioned into thirds and frozen in airtight plastic containers for up to 1 month. Defrost the dough in the refrigerator overnight, then shape, rest and bake as usual. The baked loaves can also be frozen whole or sliced. Wrap in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. To thaw, take the bread out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature, about 3 hours. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
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Crusty Artisan Bread
This crusty bread recipe is astonishingly easy — no kneading required — and it makes three beautiful loaves, which you can bake as needed.
- 6½ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off (preferably King Arthur; see note)
- 4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ tablespoons instant/rapid-rise yeast (see note)
- 3 cups lukewarm water (no need to be exact but lukewarm is about 100°F)
- Cornmeal, for dusting the pan
- In a very large (6-quart) bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the water and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is uniformly moist, without any patches of flour. The dough should be sticky and conform to the shape of the bowl. If your dough is too dry, add a few tablespoons more warm water. If it's too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour. (See the step-by-step photos for guidance on what the dough should look like.) Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter in a warm spot for 2 hours. If you plan to bake a loaf immediately, proceed to the next step. Otherwise, place the bowl of dough in the refrigerator to be used over the next 14 days. (Once refrigerated, the dough will shrink back a bit; that's okay. Do not punch down the dough at any point, and keep it loosely covered with plastic wrap.)
- Dust a sturdy baking sheet with cornmeal.
- Dust the surface of the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Pull out one-third of the dough and coat the outside lightly with flour (you don't want to incorporate more flour into the dough, you just want to be able to handle it). Gently work the dough into a smooth ball, stretching the surface and tucking the ends underneath, adding more flour as needed so it doesn't stick to your hands. (Don't overwork the dough; this process should only take about 30 seconds.) Put the dough ball onto the prepared baking sheet and let it rest at room temperature, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. (If the dough has been refrigerated, allow it to rise for 60 minutes, or up to 90 minutes if you want a more open and airy crumb structure.) The dough will rise a bit. It may also spread/flatten a bit; that's okay.
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. Set one rack in the lowest position of the oven and one rack in the middle position. Place a metal pan (any metal cake pan or broiler pan will work; just don't use glass) on the bottom rack. (You will fill this with water later to create steam in the oven).
- Generously dust the dough with flour. Using a sharp knife, make a few ½-inch-deep slashes in the dough -- a scallop, cross, or tic tac toe pattern all look nice.
- Slide the baking sheet with the dough into the oven, and carefully fill the metal cake pan with one cup of hot tap water. (Try to do this quickly so as not to let heat out of the oven.) Bake until the loaf is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- This bread is best enjoyed fresh on the day it is made. Once sliced, place the loaf cut-side down on a cutting board or plate and leave it uncovered. (If it lasts beyond a day, I suggest slicing and freezing.)
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions The dough can be portioned into thirds and frozen in airtight plastic containers for up to 1 month. Defrost the dough in the refrigerator overnight, then shape, rest and bake as usual. The baked loaves can also be frozen whole or sliced: Wrap in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month. (If you plan to use slices one at a time, place pieces of parchment between them so they don't stick.) To thaw, take the bread out of the freezer and let it come to room temperature on the countertop. Reheat in a 350°F oven until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
- Note: Active dry yeast may be used instead of instant/rapid-rise yeast, however, the dough will take longer to rise. To give active dry yeast a boost, you can dissolve it in the lukewarm water and let it sit until frothy, about 10 minutes. After that, add it to the flour and salt, and proceed with the recipe.
- Note: I use King Arthur flour, which is higher in protein than some other all-purpose flours. If using a flour with a lower protein content, such as Gold Medal, you will likely need to add a few more tablespoons of flour.
- Serving size: 1 slice
- Calories: 100
- Fat: 0 g
- Saturated fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 21 g
- Sugar: 0 g
- Fiber: 1 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Sodium: 64 mg
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Wow! This is a GREAT recipe! I’ve made a lot of bread in my life, but this is the first time I’ve made a yeast bread without sugar. I really doubted that it would rise, but it did! The crust is amazing! My husband said this recipe is a keeper, and I wholeheartedly agree. I only made one third of the recipe because I wanted to ensure the two of us would like it, and it was terrific. Many thanks for sharing.
I could literally make bread every single day. My favourite part of the process is the kneading so when I read this recipe, I was thinking of giving it a miss because of the “no-knead” required. So glad I didn’t! I halved the recipe and used Roger’s brand unbleached flour (I am in Canada and it is a fairly popular brand, depending on where you are in our country). I made 2 small loaves and they are PERFECT. My husband, who loves fresh bread said he could have eaten the entire loaf that I sliced up at supper time. Simply delish and so easy to make. I think this will be my new go-to recipe!!
Wondering if I could use Bob’s WW pastry flour? I use it for all of my baking. Thanks!
Hi Jill, I haven’t tried it with that, so I can’t say for sure. For the most predictable results, I’d stick with all-purpose flour. Sorry!
Hi Jenn – can I used KA 00 flour for this? If yes – do I need to adjust the measurement?
Hi Kelly, I wouldn’t recommend it – sorry!
I don’t have cornmeal – is it necessary? I make artisan bread but have never used it in the past.
Hi Sandra, You can bake the bread on parchment paper (keep in mind the paper will brown from the high heat). Hope you enjoy!
Sorry, I have made this bread recipe probably 20 times and still not left a review. Absolutely one of our favorite bread recipes and so easy. Thank you for this!
No ingredients measurements
Hi Tracy, It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!
Hi Jenn, I am in the Uk but love trying your recipes- apple cake my favourite at present! I would love to make this bread but not sure which flour to use as all-purpose flour is called Plain flour in the UK. We usually use Strong plain flour (bread flour) in the UK for making bread. So could you tell me which to use. Do I need to use the strong bread flour and do I need cornmeal or will Polenta do the same job?
Hi Marje, So glad you like the recipes! You’ll need plain flour for the bread and polenta will work fine. Hope you enjoy!
If I use Diamond Crystal salt instead of Morton’s, would I need 7 teaspoons? Thanks – I can’t wait to bake this!
Yes, I’d use 6.5 to 7 teaspoons. Enjoy!
Which fancy restaurants did you work in once upon a tme?
L’Auberge Chez François, The Caucus Room, and Sam & Harry’s (which is now closed)
I love your recipes and your book! I have a question. So as not to lose heat of the oven when putting the bread in, could you have the pan with hot water already in the oven when you are pre-heating the oven?
So glad you like the recipes/book! 🙂
You can put the pan with the water in while the oven is pre-heating, but I’d double the amount of water to ensure it doesn’t all evaporate. Hope you enjoy the bread!
I am going make one of the loaves today and put the other 2 in the refrigerator to use later in the week. When I’m ready to make the other loaves do you you take them out of the refrigerator and let them sit on the counter before baking? If so, how long do you recommend?
As always, thank you for the amazing recipes. You are hands down my favorite chef!
Hi Dana, Thanks for the kind words — so glad you like the recipes! If the dough has been refrigerated, allow it to rise for 60 minutes, or up to 90 minutes if you want a more open and airy crumb structure. 🙂
Can you bake two loaves at the same time, and if so, do you add twice the water in the pan? Or what are the instructions?
Hi Joanne, You can definitely bake two loaves at once; no need to double the water. They may take a few extra minutes in the oven. Just use the color as a visual cue–you’re looking for a golden brown. 🙂
I’d like to add shredded cheese, garlic and spices like Herbes de provence but don’t know how much. Please advise, Thank you
Hi Jerry, I’ve never tried adding anything to the dough so I can’t say for sure, but I’d start conservatively — maybe 1/2 cup of cheese and a tablespoon of minced garlic and herbes de Provence. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it with these additions!
For the three loaves I ground up a tablespoon of Herbes de Provence along with 1/8 tsp. garlic powder or more to your liking. I also added 1/8 tsp, of onion powder and you can add more. I added 2 cups total shredded cheese, cheddar and asiago and parmesan. Add Herbs and cheeses to the liquid and add flour last. Nice aroma as it was baking and it tastes delicious!
So glad it came out nicely — thanks for taking the time to report back!
I would like to make a tasty spice version of this delicious recipe.
Best crusty bread ever! Total of 4 ingredients plus cornmeal to dust the pan, makes 3 loaves! Great for a few days of fresh, delicious bread (except that it’s so good it’s hard to resist eating it!) So glad I found this recipe!
If you are using a Dutch oven. How long do you bake it covered and then uncovered?
Hi Denise, You can bake it in a Dutch oven just as the recipe indicates; I’d keep it covered for 20 minutes and then remove it for the last 10 minutes of baking. Hope you enjoy!
Quick question………Can I use KA bread flour instead of all purpose flour?
Thank you! Love all of your recipes!
Hi Suzanne, Yes bread flour will work and will give the bread a chewier texture.
Thanks for your quick response.
I’ve been using this recipe for a couple of years now so thought I better leave a review. Easiest bread to make and is guaranteed to taste delicious!
Perfect bread. I have made this 4 times. Each time I adjust something. It is so good. I learned to top the bread with foil if it was browning too quickly, I learned to not add flaked salt until right before baking, I learned to have safety space when pouring water to inspire a crisp top. Yum
Hi Jenn. Could I use a sourdough starter instead of yeast for this recipe? If yes, how much starter would you recommend I use? Thank you so much!
Hi Sam, I’ve never used a sourdough starter for this so I’d be reluctant to recommend it without trying it — sorry!
Hi Jen. Love this bread, on our 6th loaf in 3 weeks! Turkey and Swiss sandwiches are so much more delicious!
I’m having difficulty finding a 6 qt bowl that isn’t plastic. Where did you purchase yours? My largest Pyrex is 4 qt and what I’ve been using. The dough rises up over the top of the bowl and not certain how this affects the bread, texture etc?
Hi Kristy, I would recommend a bowl large enough that the dough doesn’t rise over the top. I see a few 6-quart bowls on Amazon that would work. See the first 2 rows on this page.
Oh I thought the bowl needed to be metal or glass for best result?
Any material bowl will work (including plastic). Hope that clarifies!
This was my first time trying to make artisan bread and all three loaves came out perfect. I can’t wait to finish these and try to make a cinnamon raisin swirl and the cheese and herbs one mentioned above. Thank you so much for this recipe, it is soo good!!
I have been making your bread for three years now and it’s amazing. I use three cast iron loaf pans (with a tiny bit of olive oil to coat pans) to bake the bread and otherwise follow your recipe exactly. We can’t ever go back to any other kind of bread. Thank you!
Hello. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I use a grain mill and grind my own flour as needed. Im about to try this recipe with hard white wheat berries. Fingers crossed it is as good as yours. I’m still pretty new to my grain mill and experimenting.
Jen, I am obviously missing something here…how much flour and how much salt?
It sounds like you are just looking at the portion of the page that has the pictures with some instructions underneath. If you scroll down a bit to under the pictures, you’ll find the full recipe. Alternatively, at the very top of the page, to the right of the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!
Hi Jenn, This bread is phenomenal. It tastes like some of the best bread we have ever had in a restaurant & it is hard not to devour it all by myself in one sitting. I was wondering if you would recommend making this in a loaf pan so that the slices would be more equal in size when cut to use for sandwiches. Would it come out as crusty if not exposed all around? If a loaf pan can be used, would I still need to use the pan of water since the dough will be enclosed in the pan and not open to the heat of the oven and steam from the water on all sides? Thanks so much for your answer.
Looking forward to many more recipes in 2023…Happy New Year!
So glad you like it, Marsha! It can be back in a nonstick, greased loaf pan, but you won’t get that crispy crust all around. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!
Hi Jenn, thanks so much for the feedback. I did make it in a loaf pan; just to be on the safe side I put a pan of water in the oven with it. The top was crusty, the sides were not as crusty but actually came out crustier than I thought it would although certainly not as crusty as when baking it on a sheet pan. Still, it was delicious; this is one great recipe. In the future, I guess I will alternate between a sheet pan and a loaf pan, depending upon how the loaf will be used. Either way, both my husband and I look forward to stuffing our faces with it!! I am going to make the part of the loaf that is left into croutons and bake a fresh loaf today.
Thanks again for all of the great recipes.
So glad it came out well — thanks for taking the time to report back! 🙂
your artisan bread recipe looks interesting and I would like to bake it. But, being from Europe, where we use grams instead of cups, (which I find can be very inaccurate) it really puts me off having a go. Could you possibly consider putting a metric conversion in grams alongside cups in your recipes? I’m sure you would find more followers online if you did this. Me for one!
Hi James, The great majority of my recipes (including this one) include conversions to metric/weight measurements. To view them, scroll down to the recipe, and immediately under the recipe title on the right side, you’ll see a little toggle. If you move it from “cup measures” to metric, you’ll see measurements that will work for you. Hope that helps!
As the other 672 people have said, yes, the bread is amazing and remarkably easy to make. I am wondering if the recipe is adaptable to add-ins. I’d love to try cranberry walnut, rosemary, or something else along those lines. Can I just add them in with this as the base recipe? Or do you think I need to find different recipes? Also just want to say I think every single recipe I have ever made from your site is amazing. 🙂
So glad you like the recipes including this bread! And while it may work to add nuts, etc, to the dough, I’ve never added any “extras”, so I’d be hesitant to suggest it.
What a delicious, easy recipe! We munched down the first two loaves and for the third batch of dough, I made it into monkey bread using a muffin pan. It was amazing and my family was moaning with delight. Also, made a few slices of French toast using eggnog—also very good. What a versatile recipe!
@onceuponachef This was sooo good! And easy too! We don’t keep our home very warm, so sat the bread on the open oven door (250F) to rise. Worked great! Then popped it back in the oven (now turned off) for the 2nd rise, with door open again. Froze 2 portions, so will see how they turn out as I use them. Will also try adding some rosemary and/or garlic the next time I make this. Thanks for the recipe Jenn!
I made this today, during my work breaks. It was so easy! I mostly followed the recipe, but I scooped the flour (I didn’t spoon it into the cup), used expired instant yeast, and it was rising for more than three hours in my not-very-warm kitchen. Due to this, the dough was probably drier and didn’t rise as much as it could have. Even so, it made a delicious, crusty, airy, soft and chewy loaf of tasty bread! Truly foolproof! Lol… So excited that I have two more balls of dough sitting in my fridge to make more fresh bread over the next couple of days!
Also, I want to add that I asked Jenn via this site for advice on why my baguettes were not working out. She responded very soon, to my amazement, and helped me troubleshoot. Then she shared this amazing recipe and recommended it for baguettes as well. (That’s next week’s project.) If I could give six stars for being so helpful and kind to her site’s readers, I would. Thank you so much, Jenn!
Where’s the French bread recipe?
Hi Bonnie, the recipe is the same. You can shape this dough into a French bread shape instead of a round loaf if you’d like. The bake time may be a bit different, so you’d need to keep a close eye on it. Hope you enjoy if you make it!
Hello! The best bread recipe.It’s sooo good ,crusty even on the second day.I made 2 out of the recipe ,almost ready to eat the second one.Thank you !!
Very pleasantly surprised at the simplicity of this bread recipe. Didn’t really expect it to be so good as well. Thank you for posting this recipe. Will be sharing it with my son who enjoys making bread.