4 Ingredient Crusty Bread

8 Servings
2 hr 30 min

Learn how to make this easy 4 ingredient, no knead crusty bread in under 3 hours! This simple rustic bread is a fool proof bread recipe perfect for beginners.

Making homemade bread is usually a time consuming task with all the kneading, rising and baking. Don't get me wrong, I love a good homemade loaf bread just as much as the next person, but sometimes I just need a quick, crusty bread that doesn't take all hours in the day to prepare. My all time favorite breads are the crusty style breads that you find in specialty bakeries. I always thought artisan bread was hard to make, but I couldn't of been more wrong. Today I'm sharing a crusty bread recipe that only requires 4 basic ingredients, flour, water, yeast and salt. This crusty bread is the easiest bread you can bake and perfect for beginners. There's no kneading required and the dough is prepared in one bowl, so it doesn't get much easier than that! 

The outside of this bread is a deep golden brown with a soft and tender middle. This simple, rustic bread pairs perfectly with a steaming bowl of soup, spaghetti and meat sauce or served along side of a pot roast. I suggest making this bread a few times as written, but once you get the hang of it, you definitely need to try a few of my favorite mix in's listed below.  

If you love flavored bread, try adding 1 - cup of mix in's to make a more flavorful bread combination. Make sure to add the mix in's to step 1 of the recipe above.  

  • Cranberry - Pecan (1/2 cup dried cranberries & 1/2 cup pecan pieces)
  • Cinnamon - Raisin (1/2 cup raisins + 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cheddar Cheese Bread (1 cup shredded cheddar or pepper jack cheese)
  • Rosemary & Garlic (minced rosemary & minced garlic)Grated Parmesan Cheese & Italian Seasoning 
Recipe details
  • 8  Servings
  • Prep time: 2 Hours Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 2 hr 30 min
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  • 3 - cups all purpose flour
  • 2 - teaspoons active dry or instant yeast (see tip below)
  • 1 1/2 - teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • 1 1/2 - cups hot water
  • covered Dutch Oven or covered Cast Iron Dutch Oven

In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast and salt. Stir in warm water until well combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
After the dough has rested for one hour, place it on a well-floured surface (the dough will be wet) and sprinkle with a flour.
Using a scraper (or place the dough on a piece of floured parchment paper and use the sides of the paper) fold dough over several times and shape into a rough ball.
Line a large bowl with a piece of parchment paper that has been sprayed with non stick baking spray. Place dough in bowl, cover with a towel and let sit on the counter for 20 -30 minutes.
While the dough rests, place a 3-6 quart Dutch oven with lid in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
After 20 - 30 minutes, using oven gloves remove the lid to the pot and lift the parchment paper with the dough out of the bowl and transfer into the hot pot. The dough will sit inside the pot lined with parchment paper.
Cover and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove lid. Bread should be light golden in color.
Leave the lid off and return the (pot) bread to the oven and bake uncovered 10 - 15 minutes longer. Bake until bread gets a deep dark golden brown (not burnt).
Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Cool bread for 30 minutes before slicing.
  • Instant Yeast: can be added straight into the flour. Active Dry Yeast: needs to be dissolved in water first according to the package directions. When it gets bubbly and foamy mix in with the rest of the ingredients.
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  • Velvet Spicer Velvet Spicer on Sep 22, 2020

    Is there a way to make this if you don't have a Dutch oven?

    • Cooker Cooker on Jan 21, 2021

      Try experimenting with a ceramic casserole that has a lid.

  • Cooker Cooker on Jan 21, 2021

    I think the 1 1/2 c. hot water will kill the yeast. This seems to be a mistake.

    • See 4 previous
    • Crumly Crumly on Dec 05, 2023

      You are correct C. The recipe DOES say hot not warm water. So “G” you must be reading something else!