Culinary Corner: Rustic Homemade Bread


Richard Hartman, Adiser

Rustic Crusty Bread recipe

If you’ve never made homemade bread you might think it’s too complicated. All the measuring and kneading and rising and separating and shaping and rising again can all seem a bit overwhelming.

Well what if I told you that you can make a delicious bread with no fancy mixers and no kneading and no complicated techniques in just over two hours?

Well, it’s true. This recipe is literally four ingredients and the less you actually knead the dough the better. I could go into the science behind what kneading accomplishes with dough, but we’re keeping it simple remember? So I’ll put it this way, if you want nice big air pockets and a slightly chewy texture to your bread don’t knead the dough.

There is one caveat about the ‘simplicity’ of this recipe, you will need two pans, one for baking the bread and another to hold water. Let me explain, in order to get the hard crust on the bread you need to incorporate steam into the baking process. To do this you will have to use a metal pan on the rack underneath the bread to pour water in so you can generate steam in the oven during cooking. I always use a baking stone for the dough with this recipe and have never used a metal baking sheet so I can’t speak from experience as to how the results may differ. I would assume that they would be similar.

Do Not use any glassware for this recipe. The temps in a 450 degrees oven can make glass cookware explode.


6 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 packet instant yeast
2 tsp salt
3 cups warm water














In a large bowl combine the flour, yeast, and salt. Mix these ingredients thoroughly, I used a whisk but a simple fork will also work.

Once ingredients are mixed add warm water. I use my hands at this point to combine the water with the flour/yeast mixture. Now, when I said ‘no kneading’ what I meant was try to knead the dough as little as possible. Basically I use a very gentle folding technique to get the dough incorporated.





As soon as I have a basic ball of dough formed I transfer it to a lightly greased bowl and cover it with plastic wrap to rise for one hour.














At this point I begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees. And about thirty minutes into the rising of the dough I will begin preheating a pizza stone and the metal pan for the water.

Do Not use any glassware for this recipe. The temps in a 450 degrees oven can make glass cookware explode.








After an hour the dough should have just about doubled in size. Remove the dough and place onto a lightly floured surface. Again Don’t Knead the dough, instead work it into a ball and fold over on itself just enough to form a basic round loaf shape. With as little working as possible form the dough into a round ball and place on the preheated baking stone. Note: I sprinkle a little cornmeal on the stone before placing the dough but that’s entirely optional.







Using a knife, carve an X into the top of the dough and sprinkle with a dusting of flower.










Place the dough into the oven and then add about four cups of water to your metal pan underneath the dough.










Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until the dough is a golden brown on top and cooked completely through.