How To Bake Crusty Bread At Home (Super Easy Recipe)

Want to make some awesome crusty bread at home? I have got you covered. I learned that baking bread in a covered dish makes a really nice crusty loaf. I will share my easy bread recipe and some simple tips for baking your bread in the oven, with and without a cover, and how to get that perfect crispy, golden crust every time using a dutch oven.

Baking Crusty Bread with This Simple Moisture Trick

In my experience, the secret to baking the perfect loaf of bread is all about managing moisture. I’ve found that getting that ideal texture—soft and moist inside with a crispy golden crust—requires adding the right amount of steam during the baking process.

Professional bread ovens have steam injectors that handle this automatically, but at home, we do not have this luxury in our standard ovens. This lack of built-in steam means we need to get creative to replicate that environment.

I used to try various methods like placing a dish of water in the oven, misting the oven walls, or even adding ice cubes. While these techniques can work, I’ve discovered a simpler and more effective method: baking the bread in a covered pan or dutch oven.

By preheating a covered container (dutch oven) and introducing a bit of moisture inside before adding the dough, I can mimic a professional baking environment right in my kitchen. This method not only helps the bread rise beautifully but also ensures a perfectly crispy crust with a moist interior. It is like having a mini professional oven, and the results are consistently amazing.

If you don’t have a good loaf pan then check out these 11 best loaf pans with lids (for golden crusty bread).

Best Crusty Bread Recipe

Recipe by Jen Evansy
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: AppetizersCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

3

hours 

5

minutes
Cooking time

40

minutes
Calories

341

kcal
Total time

3

hours 

45

minutes

With just a few simple ingredients and minimal effort, you can enjoy the unbeatable aroma and taste of fresh, homemade crusty bread straight from your own oven. This super easy bread recipe yields a small golden loaf with an irresistibly crunchy exterior and a soft, pillowy interior that will have you wondering why you ever settled for store-bought.

Cook Mode

Keep the screen of your device on

Ingredients

  • 3 cups All-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ cups Lukewarm water

  • 1 ½ tsp Instant yeast (or active dry yeast)

  • ½ tsp Salt

Equipment

Directions

  • Mix the Ingredients: Combine the flour, instant yeast, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add the warm water while stirring to bring the dough together into a shaggy form.Preparation–Crusty Bread At Home
  • Knead the Dough: Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough is too sticky, add a small amount of flour.
  • First Rise: Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free area for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size.Resting the Dough–Crusty Bread At Home
  • Shape the Dough: After the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it onto a floured surface. Shape it into a round loaf or any shape you prefer.Shaping –Crusty Bread At Home
  • Scoring: Using a knife or blade, score the top of the loaf to allow for expansion during baking.Scoring–Crusty Bread At Home
  • Second Rise: Place the shaped dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover it lightly with a clean kitchen towel and let it rise for another 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Resting Again: Let the dough sit for an additional 30 minutes.Resting Again
  • Preheating: Preheat the oven and loaf pan to 450°F (230°C).Preheating–Crusty Bread At Home
  • Baking: Place the dough into the preheated pan (dutch oven), put the lid on and bake for about 20 minutes.
  • Adding Moisture: Just before placing the dough in the oven, spray 2-3 sprays of water into the preheated loaf pan to add extra moisture.
  • Remove the Lid: After 20 minutes of baking, remove the lid of the Dutch oven or the covering. This will expose the top of the bread to direct heat, helping the crust to become crisp and golden. Continue to bake for another 10 to 15-20 minutes until the crust is golden brown and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
  • Cooling: Once baked, remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy your freshly baked crusty bread!

Notes

  • Flour Options: You can use either white or whole wheat flour for this recipe. Whole wheat flour will result in a denser, nuttier bread, while white flour will produce a lighter, softer loaf.
  • Moisture Retention: To ensure moisture retention during baking, consider incorporating techniques like preheating a dish of water for an hour before baking, spraying the inside of your oven with water beforehand, adding ice cubes to the oven, or misting your dough as it bakes. These methods help create a steamy environment, which is ideal for achieving a crisp crust and a soft interior.
  • Covering When Baking: Baking the bread covered for the initial part of the baking time is a great technique for achieving a crusty result. Covering the bread traps moisture, allowing the loaf to rise fully before developing a crust. Then, removing the cover towards the end of baking allows the crust to brown and develop its characteristic texture.
  • Resting Time: Don’t rush the resting times for the dough. Allowing the dough to rest for the specified durations ensures proper fermentation, which contributes to the flavor and texture of the bread.
  • Scoring the Dough: When scoring the dough before baking, use a sharp knife or blade to make shallow cuts on the surface. This helps control the expansion of the dough during baking, preventing it from tearing unevenly.
  • Experiment with Shapes: Feel free to experiment with different shapes for your bread. Whether you prefer a classic loaf shape, rolls, or something more artisanal, shaping the dough according to your preference adds a personal touch to your homemade bread.

Nutrition Facts

  • Total number of serves: 4
  • Calories: 341kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 71g
  • Protein: 10g
  • Fat: 0.9g

Like this recipe?

Check Out @FoodHow on Pinterest.

Like our Facebook Page!

Follow us on Facebook

Check Out This Crusty Bread Recipe Too!

If you’re interested in another bread-baking project, take a look at this super healthy 2-ingredient Flaxseed Bread Recipe here. It’s low-carb and gluten-free.

Share Your Crusty Bread Experience!

How did your crusty bread turn out? Whether you followed the recipe or tweaked it, I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment here or on the YouTube video. Any questions or issues? I’m here to help. Looking forward to your feedback!

Leave a Comment

About Jen Evansy

Nutritionist, researcher, avid home cook, and writer interested in everything nutrition and food-related. Striving to inform, encourage, and inspire all the readers to make healthy and informed choices when it comes to cooking, food, diet, and nutrition.