I’m a moderately good cook and a beginner baker, and I’m not as experienced at it as Oya or Hecate. Early in the pandemic I did a baking post with some of my favorite recipes. That was the first time I’d baked and I was surprised how much I liked it. I was super ambitious back then and tried some things I only did once, like challah bread and buttermilk bread. Banana bread has been a staple though and I think my son got sick of it. He won’t say that outright, but he doesn’t eat as much of it so I don’t make it as often.
For Christmas dinner I planned to make stuffing but realized I’d forgotten the crusty bread at the store. I figured that I could make my own bread, but after I made it I decided to just make the bread the side instead of bothering to make it into stuffing.
I googled “easy crusty bread” and found this “artisan” bread recipe. It does take yeast but it’s so freaking easy! Even if you haven’t baked before, you can make this. This bread takes three ingredients and the only real work is just mixing and shaping a little. You probably already have these ingredients at your house, and all you need is a bowl and cookie sheet.
You mix the ingredients, leave the dough out for a few hours to rise, stick it in the fridge overnight (although you can bake it then if you want) and half-ass shape it into loaves the next day. You do have to let the loaves sit for about 45 minutes before putting them in the oven. If you want crustier bread you put boiling water in a dish in the oven, but this is optional. There are several steps but it’s mainly just planning ahead and waiting, which is already a major part of my lifestyle. It’s not messy or complicated compared to other baking I’ve done. Here’s part of the recipe, from Sally’s Baking Addiction, and her video is below. Go to her site for more tips and tricks if you’d like to make this. I use regular Gold Medal all purpose flour (not self rising), store bought regular yeast (not quick yeast, I just let the dough sit out longer) and kosher salt.
3 and 1/4 cups (460g) bread flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and pan
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse salt (see note)
1 and 1/2 cups (360ml) cool water
optional: cornmeal for dusting pan
Mix the dough ingredients together. At first the dough will seem very dry and shaggy and you’ll question if it will even come together. But it will. Use a spatula at first, then switch to your hands to ensure all of the flour is moistened. The dough is actually a little sticky after it’s thoroughly mixed.
Let it rise at room temperature for 2-3 hours. Cover the dough and let it rise at room temperature for about 2-3 hours until doubled in size.
Use right away or refrigerate. After 2-3 hours, you can immediately continue with the next step. However, for ideal flavor and texture, I strongly recommend letting the dough sit in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and up to 3 days. Yes, 3 full days! I usually only let it rest for about 18 hours. During this crucial step, the cold air slows the fermentation process and adds so much flavor and texture. So, you can bake bread in 2-3 hours or in 3 days. The longer it sits, the better it tastes.
Shape into 2 loaves or 1 boule. Rest as oven preheats. You can shape the bread into a round loaf (boule) or two longer loaves. I usually make 2 longer loaves side-by-side on a flat baking sheet, about 9×3 inches each. Score with a sharp knife or bread lame. Preheat the oven to a very hot 475°F (246°C). The extremely hot air will immediately set the crust so the bread rises up instead of spreading all over. To help ensure a crispier crust, after the oven pre-heats– pour boiling water into a baking pan on the bottom oven rack. Immediately place the dough inside and shut the oven door to trap the steam. The steam will help create that coveted crisp crust. If you have a dutch oven, shape the dough into 1 round loaf, and bake it inside the dutch oven with the lid on.
Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Gently tap the loaves because if they sound hollow, they’re done.
[From Sally’s baking addiction]
Along with being so easy to make, the other reason I’m covering this is that it’s incredibly delicious bread! It’s as good if not better than bread from the bakery. The recipe makes two loaves and I ate a whole loaf the other day. My son loves it, although I’m sure he’ll get sick of it like everything else I make regularly. Making this bread makes this makes me feel like a good mom.
I’m publishing this Tuesday so you can make bread for New Year’s if you want. Your family will be amazed and if you live alone it’s a nice treat for yourself. I am evangelical about this bread! After making this I bought a baguette pan and a couche, which is French linen you put bread on to rise. (Can you tell I’ve been watching Great British Baking Show?) You don’t need any of that stuff to make this bread though.
I am terrible at taking photos of food and did a lazy job taking these pics thinking they were just for me, but this is the bread. It tastes better than it looks. My duck wasn’t burnt either! It was tasty I swear. Update: I made more bread and tried to make it pretty looking.
Here’s the video with instructions!
Ok you’re really tempting me to give this a try. l’ve been baking more since we finally got a properly working oven summer 2019 but mostly cakes and I’ve always been afraid to try bread. Hmmm……
My grandmother and mother bake bread all the time and use this recipe. And it is delicious. I could not master it but maybe I will give this a go week.
My Mom loved to make this bread recipe. Easy and so delicious that you’ll soon be baking a double recipe! 😋 Thank you, Celebitchy!
I joined the ranks of quarantine sourdough bakers at the start of the pandemic. Now feeding my starting is a pain and I haven’t made bread in over 4 months. Lol once I got the hang of it the bread was delicious and even used my starter to make a chocolate babka.
Thanks for the bread recipe. I’ll definitely try this one. I love Sally’s Baking Addiction! She has the best recipes and gives excellent instructions. Her cake recipes are always a hit at my house.
She has a wonderful cinnamon roll recipe. I made those for Christmas morning.
Okay that looks beautiful!!!
Your dinner looked amazing, as does your bread. As I commented on Twitter, I have a knack for ruining any bread recipe. It doesn’t want to rise for me. But I do have the ingredients from a recent failed attempt so I’m inspired to try again!
A few of my friends got really into baking bread in Dutch ovens, which is something I’d never heard of until the pandemic. I found some recipes for bread in cast iron skillets and had moderate success with one.
Thanks! Just get fresh yeast and make sure you let it sit long enough. I let this sit out about 4-5 hours before I put it in the fridge because I use the regular yeast. This recipe is mostly about waiting.
Good to know, thanks. I tend to be impatient so this will be a good exercise in restraint. 🙂
Thank you, there is nothing that smells better than freshly baked bread!! I’ll give this a try.
CB, when all this is over, are you available for catering?? That all looks SO good!
I’m like Oprah: “I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE Bread!” You can take ANYTHING else, but touch my bread, and you’ll pull back a stump! lol.
My grandmother made/baked EVERYTHING from scratch (made the challah every Friday for Shabbat, too). I’ve never tried to bake bread, but I think I’ll try this one!
Oh…and when Covid is contained and we’re allowed to roam freely again, please send someone to come push me out of my doorway; I will have expanded, like yeast, from all the delicious bread! 😄 😋
Thanks. Will give it a go with my bread machine (the mixing and rising part only) and then put it in the oven. I love fresh baked bread.
I suck at baking. This recipe seems easy enough for me to try. I tried another recipe that worked great too. It’s just 2 ingredients. Ice cream and self-rising flour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bread pan. Combine 2 cups (16 oz) softened ice cream and 1 1/2 cups self rising flour. Do not overmix, just until combined. Put in greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.
That’s it. Very simple. You can use any type ice cream. I felt like a pro. Hahahaha
That looks great!
My husband asked for a bread machine *last* Christmas. That thing turned out to be a godsend this year.
I have never made my own bread from scratch, but your enthusiasm is infectious and now I want to give it a try! 😊 Thanks for posting this.
What does this mean: “Score with a sharp knife or bread lame.”
The bread lame is one of those cutter things that look like a guillotine. I use a pizza cutter on mine. You just make diagonal cuts in the bread. Thanks! I got so excited about this bread and am amazed it’s so easy.
-edit- AMA1977 explained it better!
I assume it just lost the acute accent when the word lamé (lah-MAY) was adopted in English from the French. The common root is lamina or laminated, so what you describe for it makes sense. Just a sharpened plate, I guess.
It means to cut shallow slashes across the top of the loaf. It lets steam escape in a controlled way so the loaf doesn’t have a blowout. A” lame” is a special kind of tool (essentially a razor blade angled to allow the right depth of slashes) that bakers use to prepare the dough for baking after shaping and rising. If you use a knife, try to keep the slashes less than 3/4″ deep (about 1/2 is perfect on the size/shape loaf shown here) and make about 3-4 evenly spaced on a 12″ or so loaf. Also, if they’re a little (or a lot!) off, your bread will still be delicious!
I’m glad you mentioned letting the loaves sit for 45 minutes before baking because I don’t see that in her instructions.
I love baking bread and trying new recipes. I am hooked on the King Arthur Flour web site. They have tons of different recipes and tutorials. That’s how I got started with sourdough. They are lots of recipes for sourdough discards. We’re currently hooked on sourdough crumpets. Incredibly easy to make, they are part of our weekend breakfasts.
A question for those of you who bake, I haven’t tried to make bread because it seems to complicated for my level of baking skill. But if this looks like something I could maybe do, but I don’t need 2 breads at a time. Can you freeze dough? Or am I better off trying to 1/2 the recipe?
Halve the recipe! I may have to start doing this so I don’t eat so much bread.
Here is a pretty simple bread recipe that doesn’t need kneading. It’s called peasant bread and only takes a few hours from start to finish.
Thank you @Celebitchy and @StellainNH! I will try my hand at baking a bread this weekend! If it turns out well, that could open up a whole new world for me. 🙂
I know you will be successful. Just make sure your yeast is fresh.
The recipe I shared is really easy. It is baked in an ovenproof bowl. My family kills that loaf at mealtime.
You can bake the bread and freeze it, too. It’ll be ready to go a lot faster when you need it.
This is close to the boule recipe for Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. It’s so fun and yes, easy. Who needs a bread maker? WE ARE THE BREAD MAKERS? LOL
This recipe is even easier. I haven’t bought bread for months now. I bake half the dough for one loaf, refrigerate the rest of the dough, and then about 4 days later bake the second half when the first loaf has been eaten. https://www.onceuponachef.com/recipes/crusty-artisan-bread.html
Thanks for this, I need a new easy bread recipe! I love Sally’s Baking Addiction, she never let’s me down! If anyone is needing it, her homemade pizza dough is also fabulous and easy!
I am a bit of a breadmaker myself, and I was just reading about the technique behind French bread. That’s what this is. No sweetener, just flour, water, yeast and salt. It’s the technique and the long, slow rise at cool temperatures that give it flavor. The flavor comes from slow fermentation. Well done. Your success has made me want want to try it.
Does anyone use a breadmaker? Saw a demo on YT and you just have to input the ingredients and the breadmaker does everyone else, including kneading, for you. Tempted to get one at some stage.