Back when I first started this blog I shared a recipe. A bread recipe that’s perfectly divine. Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside. A bread that resembles fresh bakery bread in both texture and taste. Sounds perfect, right? Oh, it is, but one issue.
One slight issue.
That divine bread goes against much of how we eat today. I’ve debated taking down that recipe because it’s both lacking in beauty (you can view the embarrassing post here and be grateful my blogging and photography skills have improved slightly) and wholeness.
What could possibly be so wrong about an oh, so perfect bread?
First, it’s made with white flour. I know, sinful!
Second, it isn’t soaked or sprouted.
It’s just one big ol’ loaf of white, crusty fresh-from-the-oven bread.
Now, I realize the outcry a white bread recipe may elicit from my real foodie, purist friends. I know, I struggle with the idea of a huge white loaf of delicious bread too, but I’ve learned to embrace this white loaf of pure heaven. Before you hit that exist button, please let me explain.
I truly believe real homemade, from scratch food is about bringing family together in the kitchen and the garden and celebrating the time spent preparing food made with basic ingredients. I believe there is a culture we build behind food when we eat in this way. Today, it seems so many of us are so focused on what we shouldn’t be eating, that we lose sight of the goodness we can be preparing in our kitchens and the culture of homemade food we can cultivate with our children. It’s important to eat for nourishment and nutrition, but it’s also important to eat with the idea of not making homemade food into a “good” and “bad” laundry list. Dissecting every last morsel. Homemade food is meant to be prepared with love and celebration. With culture and tradition and the idea of bringing delicious ingredients together to be enjoyed.
With that said, this bread is one that cultivates a culture of tradition in my kitchen. The earthiness of this bread, the time spent preparing it, and the nourishing soups and big salads we enjoy it with will forever be etched in my children’s memories. How every fall the big, well-loved dutch oven is dusted off and the white flour bag is broken open. That my dear readers, is what real, homemade food is meant to be. A joyful memory, a tradition, not based on fear, but instead joy and delight.
So, while I truly strive to soak and sprout most of our grains and use whole sources such as whole wheat, there are times a lovely loaf of crusty white bread just must be made, broken at the table, and slathered with fresh butter.
I’ve been asked if this bread can be made with 100% whole wheat. Here’s my answer, “NO“.
While it can be done, you will be sacrificing so much in the taste and texture departments. Truly the white flour makes all the difference. This isn’t sandwich bread. We don’t consume this crusty bread every day. It’s a treat and homemade treats are meant to be enjoyed and savored. A treat that’s made in our kitchen, by our hands, creating a love for fresh, scratch cooking. And a family tradition and culture of made-with-love food.
If you don’t agree, it’s okay. I’ll be back to posting soaked, sprouted, and all sorts of other goodness later. So sit tight while I tend to some delicious white, crusty goodness.
Homemade Crusty Bakery Bread
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup fresh herbs grated sharp cheese, dried fruit, whatever your heart’s desire and your tummy’s mood (optional, but highly encouraged)
- Mix: In a large bowl or your Kitchen-Aid Mixer, combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Whisk the ingredients together. If you are using any herbs (or any other additions) add them to the flour mixture and whisk. Now, add the water. With the dough hook or a trusty wooden spoon, mix all the ingredients together until the dough is wet and sticky. You are not looking for a perfectly formed ball of dough. Wet and sticky are the key words. Cover your dough with a towel and let sit for 12-18 hours on the counter.
- Form: After 12 hours, preheat the oven to 450°. Once the oven is heated place your dutch oven in the nice, hot oven and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. While you are waiting remove the towel and scoop the dough onto a floured surface. Form the dough into a ball, cover it with a towel, and allow to rise while the dutch oven gets nice and toasty. I often double this recipe to share with neighbors or a friend. It really pays off to be the neighbor of a real foodie, urban homesteader. Free fresh eggs, fresh herbs and veggies, and fresh bread.
- Bake: Once the dutch oven is toasty and steamy (30 minutes), carefully remove the top and place your bread in the pot. Place the top back on and close the oven door. Crusty, bakery bread is about to happen! Cook the loaf for 30 minutes, covered. After 30 minutes, remove the top and allow to cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
Tools I Use
I use a Kitchen-Aid Mixer fitted with the bread hook attachment to make this bread, however, you don’t need one. You can simply use a wooden spoon and your bread will still come out just as perfect!
The result? Crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, homemade bakery-like bread.
This bread is perfect to serve with a big bowl of fall soup, a big salad, hollowed out as a soup/bread bowl, or smothered with freshly whipped garlic-herb butter.
Later this week I will be sharing my favorite whipped garlic-herb butter. The perfect accompaniment to this rustic, fresh bread.
Love this recipe and shared it with friends and family. I loved how I can be a lazy baker with this with no kneading. I don’t have a dutch oven (just ordered one and it’s on its way!) so I baked this in my cast iron skillet and add a pan of water to help create steam. Everyone loved it! Super crispy crust with a chewy interior. You can see the holes in the bread which I love!
i love making this bread and i put it in a bowl to rise for the 12-18 hoursand i cover it with a towel but it forms a dry crust on top. i just work it in. any way to prevent this or is it normal.
i thought it was very salty. can i use less salt?
Yes, you can reduce the amount of salt to your liking.
Is there a way to make this bread with all-purpose einkorn flour, only? And if so (I’m praying so), what would the measurements be? I make so many of your wonderful recipes and would love to add this to our weekly rotation.
Hi Tina, I have not tried it but you can use the same measurements. I would say not to kneed it too much because einkorn does not like to be touched. I also have a recipe on the blog for einkorn sandwich bread and you could try using a dutch oven, again I have not tried that but you can tell me if it works for you! https://livesimply.me/how-to-make-einkorn-bread/
So, unfortunately, using all einkorn flour doesn’t work out too well. The flavor was amazing, however! It just didn’t rise much at all, and after twelve hours, it had more of the consistency of a sourdough starter, rather than a dough you could form into a ball for a second rise. So I attempted to bake it in that form anyways, and it did bake, almost as if it was focaccia bread, if that make any sense (size wise). So a much smaller, tasty bread was the result. Any advice on tweaking this to make it einkorn friendly? 🙂
I’m sorry using Einkorn didn’t work for you. But try using this recipe but bake in a dutch oven.
Let me know if you have any other questions or concerns!
I have made this wonderful bread with 1/2 unbleached all-purpose non-GMO flour & 1/2 Whole wheat non-GMO flour & it worked beautifully. I have also added herbs as well as cheese for a wonderful bead to serve with soup or stew.
Awesome, Candee. Sounds lovely!
Could you make this in a bread machine….
Hey Beth, You probably could, but won’t get the same crusty results.
This was my first time making bread…and I’m not sure what I did but I clearly didn’t do it right. 🙁 The dough didn’t really rise either time. After it sat on the counter for about 17 hrs I tried to form it into a ball but it would just sink back down like a pancake. So I tried adding more flour in but it didn’t seem to help too much. After baking it was still pretty flat and the outside crust was hard and difficult to cut through. :/ Any ideas on what I did wrong?
Hey Kristin, It sounds like maybe there was an issue with the yeast–it was either old or not active. I would try a different kind of yeast (active dry yeast). You could test a small amount of the yeast in a cup of water–sprinkle it over the water and after a few minutes it should start to foam. If this happens, the yeast is active and good to use.
I would love to see a picture of the crumb, it looks lovely. I just made a very similar recipe that uses eikorn whole wheat and a half cup of sourdough starter instead of half a tsp of yeast. I’m just waiting for it to cool so I can cut into it. I like your method of baking better- more time with the lid on, less time with it off= lighter colored crust. I’m going to try this next time , thanks so much!
Hey Bethany, I’ll try to make this loaf again in the next couple of weeks to get a crumb photo for the post. The photos in the post were updated a couple of years ago from the horrible photos we once had, lol.
Hi. Your recipe looks so yummy and relatively simple. I’m a beginner bread maker so I have an unusual question. Doesn’t the bread dough get stuck to the teatowel if it’s not greased? Happened to me before and oh what a mess! Thanks.
Can I make a few batches and freeze the dough? Do I freeze it after the first rise, and when I take it out if the freezer how long should I let it sit? Thanks for your help.
Hey Dianne, Yep, freezing the dough should work well with this recipe. I would freeze the dough after the first rise. Then take it out of the freezer and let it defrost overnight in the fridge. Then place the bread, covered, on the counter for a second rise, and bake.
I really like your views on bread. I, too, typically use 100% whole grains, and make a lot of sourdough things. But about once I year I make a good loaf of white bread! Now for my yearly loaf, I use white einkorn flour, which actually tastes even better, and I figure, is at least a little better for you.
Thank you, Cristina! I love einkorn, too!
I cannot wait to make this tomorrow! Question, I only have a glass 2 quart casserole dish or a stainless Dutch oven…will one of those work?
Hey Tami, I would go with the stainless Dutch oven…that’s what I used for a long time before I purchased my cast iron. It should work perfectly!
Just wanted to say thanks! I tried this recipe a few months back and it’s become my go to accompaniment for special occasion meals- like today’s Easter pot roast! I always mix in a handful of fresh chopped rosemary that I grow on the windowsill- comes out perfect every time.
I’m so happy to hear that, Stevie! Thank you so much for sharing.
Ok another question as I was reminded that I do have a dutch oven! It’s small though only a 2 or 2.5 qt. I saw your comment about 3 qt. 4 qt. and 6 qt. dutch ovens – do you think my 2 qt. will work or is it too small?
Hey Lindsey, I think a 2 quart will be too small for this recipe. You could divide the dough into two small balls and then bake each of them separately in a 2 quart Dutch oven.
Is there a way to make this recipe without having a dutch oven? Is there another dish which could be used? Maybe a corning ware dish?
Hey Lindsey, I haven’t tried using another dish, but I heard from one reader that used a crock-pot (that was oven safe to 500F) successfully.
What temp should the water be??
Rachael, Room temperature water :).
I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for this recipe!! I’ve been making bread for 5 years or so and love it, but, I’ve never found a white bread with a flavor as good as this one or a crust like this. This is magnificent!! Hubby said it was now his favorite bread that I’ve made……and it’s been a lot of bread thus far :-). I made it today, and it’s almost gone so I’ll start another batch or two tonight. We also made your garlic-herb butter to go with it – it, too is quite a find. Delicious!!! Thank you so much for sharing these recipes with us.
P.S. This recipe worked just fine in my 5 quart Dutch oven.
That’s awesome, Sarah! Enjoy the last couple of slices :). And thank you so much for sharing!
I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have a question… (Sorry if this sounds a bit silly!) when you leave the dough to rise overnight, do you tuck the towel in around it or just lay it across the top of the bowl? Also, any tips on getting the dough into the pot after the second rise? Do you flip it in upside down or carefully place it? Thanks!
I lightly drape the towel over the bowl just to cover it, but not block air from circulating. After the second rise I do my best to place my hand under the dough, sometimes shaping the dough a bit as I make my way to the hot oven and Dutch oven. It can be a bit tricky, but this dough and recipe are very forgiving.
Just took my loaf out of the oven and it looks and smells amazing! My only issue was how sticky the dough was in the morning when I tried to shape it on a Silpat to rise a little more. Is it supposed to be really sticky? I rolled it around and kneaded some extra flour into it so that I could work with it.
Yum, Megan. Yes, that’s correct…the loaf will be sticky, but if it’s too sticky just knead in a bit flour into the dough until it’s more workable. I hope your bread was amazing!!