Are you looking for the best crusty bread recipe in the world? Look no further, you’ve found it right here. This is one of those no-knead, Dutch oven bread variations that will blow you away. Okay, I know that a recipe for the best bread in the world is a tall order. This crusty, light and airy bread comes very, very close though.
Not only does this bread taste amazing, so much better than the store-bought version, it’s also really straightforward to make. What more could you ask for?
The only things you need for making this bread is a bowl, something to stir the dough (you only need to do that for 5 minutes) and a dutch oven. We have several and have baked this bread in both this ceramic one, and in a cast iron dutch oven like this one. Use the one you have, and I am sure you will do just fine.
For us, this is a “weekend bread” – that is, it’s the kind of bread that takes time from start to finish. The bread recipes we tend to use every day, like our simple bread rolls, are quick and easy. Sometimes I get excited and start making the everyday bread – a recipe that will feed you bread for years to come, without adding yeast, its also simple enough, but just demands a different kind of commitment. You get the picture. This bread is so ridiculously easy to make, and it just tastes SO good.
How to make the best and easiest crusty bread in the world
You need to start baking this bread at least 16 hours before you want to eat it. This is to give the gluten in the bread the chance to form long strings. Gluten strings can be achieved by kneading as well, but that’s not what we are going for today. Those gluten strings then knit the bread together, creating those big air bubbles I just love!
Add all of the ingredients to a bowl and stir it until all the flour is wet. This wont take long, and don’t worry if its still a very runny consistently, it is supposed to be a very soft dough.
Leave it covered in a cold room over night, (at least 12 hours but 14 hours is good to). By the end it will have formed big air bubbles.
Take the dough out of the cold room, and get it out onto the kitchen table. Take the dough out of the bowl and shape it into a loaf. Leave it there to “wake up” for about 2 hours. I leave mine on a silicone baking mat, like this one – if you don’t have one, the kitchen table will work as well.
Add the dutch oven, to your cold oven and heat it all up together to about 250 degrees Celsius (480 F). Make sure that your dutch oven is heated all the way through. Do this by leaving it in the oven for about 10-20 minutes after the oven heats up.
Carefully remove the dutch oven from your oven and leave it on a heat proof surface. Grab all of your dough and place it straight into the dutch oven. I do this with a pizza paddle life this one. Add the lid back onto the dutch oven and place it back into the oven at full heat. Leave it there to bake for 30 minutes.
When the 30 minutes are up, remove the lid and turn the oven down to 225 degrees C, (435 F) and bake the bread for another 15 minutes.
Remove the bread from the oven, and “poor” it out of the dutch oven onto a rack. And then LEAVE IT for at least 20 minutes. Enjoy the crackling sounds it is making, but don’t eat it just yet.
You have waited long enough! Enjoy 🙂
That’s it. The method itself is very simple – make your dough, leave to prove and bake in a Dutch oven (or whatever pot you have.)
It’s not a work-heavy bread, just time-heavy. But trust me, it’s definitely worth it.
The best and easiest bread in the world
- You will need a large bowl and a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot to bake the bread in
- 1/4 TBS Dry yeast REALLY! Only very little!
- 1 pint cold water (5 dl)
- 2 Pints Flour (625g, 10 dl)
- 2 tsp Salt
- In a large bowl, add the dry yeast to the cold water. Stir well, until the yeast is activated. (This takes about 5 minutes – until the yeast is fully-dissolved)
- Add the salt and flour to the bowl.
- Stir the mixture until the flour is just wet, but no longer.
- Wrap the bowl with a (wrung-out) wet tea towel or similar.
- Leave your dough to "raise cold" for 12-14 hours.Choose the coolest room in the house for this. I did leave it on the kitchen table once, and it was fine here in chilly Denmark.
- After 12-14 hours, dust a clean table top with flour. Tip your dough out onto the flour and fold the dough gently in over itself 3 times. Work from the sides to the middle, to create a dome-shaped loaf.Now cover it (I use a beeswax cloth for this, but a dish towel is perfect) and leave on the kitchen counter for another two hours. This is especially important if you had it raising cold – it needs to "wake up".
- Heat your oven to 250 degrees Celsius (480 degrees Fahrenheit) and put your Dutch oven or pot in the oven to warm. Make sure it's heated all the way. I like to let it sit in the oven for 10 minutes after the oven has come to temperature.
- Take the hot Dutch oven out of the oven and put it down on a safe, heat-proof surface. Remove the lid (wear oven mitts!), and gently lift your dough into the Dutch oven – careful not to touch the hot pot yourself. Put the lid back on, place it back in the oven and leave to bake for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove the lid from your Dutch oven, and turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees Celsius (435 Fahrenheit).Bake without the lid for an additional 15 minutes. Make sure you check on your bread after 10 minutes though, your oven might be warmer than mine.
- Remove the bread from the oven and take it out of your Dutch oven. Your bread should be golden brown and making a crackling sound. To double check it's baked, knock on the bottom of the loaf, it should sound hollow.
- LEAVE YOUR BREAD FOR 20 MINUTES BEFORE YOU CUT INTO IT!Its very important that the bread is able to set itself up for greatness, and it does that with all of the moisture contained inside the thick crust. Leave it for at least 20 minutes to cool and set before you eat it.
Crusty Bread Gone Wrong…
I have to be honest. It took me a few attempts before this bread turned out the way I wanted it. So I’m going to share my best tip for perfect crusty bread.
If your bread sticks to your Dutch oven, pot, or whatever you’re using to bake it in, then the pot wasn’t warm enough when you put the bread in. To avoid this, leave your Dutch oven in your heated oven for a bit longer before you take it out and put in your bread. Because this recipe doesn’t use any fat, you’re relying on the high temperature to make sure the bread doesn’t stick.