No knead, no loaf pan, no Dutch oven, no problem! Our rustic bread recipe is so simple, using only 5 ingredients that you likely have stashed in your cupboards. In just a few hours, you'll have the most delicious bread that has an amazingly crispy crust and is pillow-soft inside!

Rustic bread recipe on a cutting board with a bread knife, from Shelf Cooking

There's nothing better than homemade bread, fresh out of the oven. It's perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacktime, or any time of the day, really! But one of our favorite things about it? It's one of the best ways to stretch a meal and get those bellies full!

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You simply can't go wrong with our rustic bread; it goes well with anything. Even non-bakers can have this turn out perfectly delicious every time! We love that you don't need any fancy gadgets for it, although a stand mixer does keep you from working up a sweat 😉 So what are we waiting for? Let's get on to…



TIPS FOR MAKING THE EASIEST CRUSTY RUSTIC BREAD

We could make this every week and never get tired of it… Shoot, we could make it every day and never get tired of it! You won't be disappointed, we promise. Plus, it's a great shelf cooking recipe because all of these ingredients are kitchen staples!

Here are some tips for preventing a heavy, or overly doughy, loaf:

  • Weigh out your flour using a food scale! This will keep you from using too much or too little. If you don't have a food scale, fluff the flour and use a spoon to add flour to the measuring cup versus scooping it out in the measuring cup.
  • Start by using two cups of water and slowly add in the third until your batter is the correct consistency.
  • Dough should be slightly sticky to the touch, but not so that much comes off on your hands. If it’s too sticky to handle, add ¼ cup more flour at a time.
  • You can bake your bread in a dutch oven, if needed. It should take about 50 minutes to an hour to bake completely.
  • You can also bake your bread in loaf pans, but the outside won’t get crispy. The normal cook time should be enough.
  • If your crust is getting too brown, you can tent foil over it so the outside won’t keep cooking.
  • Use a thermometer to check the inside. It should read at least 190°F before you take it out of the oven.
  • Tap the bottom of the loaf to check for doneness. If it sounds hollow, it's perfect.
  • If the bread is hard, lower the oven temperature by 25°F and cook for 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Don't cut the bread for at least an hour, as the crumb is still forming. This will keep it from deflating!

We've made this so. many. times. and it has turned out so delicious every time. It's so dang good!


STORING RUSTIC BREAD

If you manage to have any bread left over (and that's a big if!), store the sliced bread in an airtight bread bag or zipper bag at room temperature. If it's a full loaf, store it in a brown paper bag to keep the crust from going soft. If it's half a loaf, place the open side face-down on a cutting board.

Rustic bread usually only lasts for a few days before it starts going stale. At that point, you can repurpose it for something else, if that's your thang. (Those ideas are comin' atcha below!)

Rustic bread also freezes really well! Wrap your whole loaf in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to help prevent freezer burn. When you're ready to thaw, just leave it wrapped up on the counter for a few hours and it'll be good as new. You can also freeze slices of bread, so don't be afraid to throw those in a freezer baggie if you have any leftover as well! They're handy for when you just need a slice or two of bread versus the whole loaf.


WAYS TO USE YOUR NEW FAVORITE CRUSTY BREAD

Leftover rustic bread as a grilled cheese sandwich on a plate, from Shelf Cooking

Alright, here are our favorite ways to eat this rustic bread, both fresh and when it's starting to go stale. Don't even think about wasting it because it's too delicious for that! 😉

  • Alongside Soup – You can never ever ever go wrong with soup and bread!
  • With Pasta – The same goes for pasta dishes! The bread tastes so good sopping that sauce up.
  • Fancy Grilled Cheese – Take your grilled cheese to the next level by using this delicious bread versus plain ‘ol white bread.
  • Cheesy Garlic Bread – Talk about elevating a recipe! Rustic bread is the perfect way to make this delicious snack/meal/appetizer/just because.
  • French Toast – Don't sweat it if your bread is starting to go stale! Our French toast recipe is the perfect way to revive it.
  • Cinnamon Toast – Bread + butter + cinnamon sugar topping = Heaven. Seriously, all it takes is popping it in the oven for 5-10 minutes until everything gets warm and gooey and you'll be on your way to paradise!
  • Make into Croutons – Cut stale bread into uniform chunks and toss with olive oil or butter and seasonings (garlic powder is a must!). Bake in the oven at 375°F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.
  • Turn into Bread Crumbs – It's so easy to make your own bread crumbs!

Pro Tip: Plan your meals around when you're making your bread. This will help you use it up before it goes stale! You'll know when to make it fresh to accompany your favorite meals, then turn it into something else before it goes bad.


YOUR NEW FAVE RUSTIC BREAD RECIPE

Alright, it's the moment you've been waiting for! 😉

rustic bread on a cutting board, from Shelf Cooking

Rustic Bread Recipe

A warm, crusty rustic bread goes with just about any meal and it's so simple to make! Throw it together, let it rise, and you'll have a yummy bread that's ready for dinner in just a few hours' time. No bread pan needed!
4.74 from 23 votes
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 2 loaves

Ingredients
  

  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 ¼ tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 cups (750 g) flour
  • 3 tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Mix water, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Let sit for about 5 minutes until bubbly.
  • Add flour and salt. Mix until combined into a soft dough. (The dough should be slightly sticky to the touch, but not so that much comes off on your hands. If it’s too sticky to handle, add ¼ cup flour at a time.)
  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and kitchen towel. Let rise for 1-3 hours, if possible! I’ve run out of time before and let it rise for only 30-60 mins and it still works, but the longer, the better!
  • Preheat oven to 450°F and put a pizza stone or flipped-over cookie sheet in the oven to heat up.
  • Fill a baking dish with 2 inches of water and place on the bottom rack to create steam for an extra crispy crust.
  • Sprinkle flour on the counter, turn out the dough, fold on itself, divide in half and form it into 2 balls. Don’t knead or handle it more than you need to. Add a little flour if it’s too sticky.
  • Cut an X shape on the top of the balls with a sharp knife.
  • Place on a lightly floured pan, then place on top of the hot pizza stone or cookie sheet.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.

Notes

*You can bake it right on the hot cookie sheet and it’ll be just fine. Just be careful handling the hot pan while putting your dough on it and in the oven!
Keyword crusty, easy, no-knead

Sounds so good, right? It's such an easy recipe and the bread comes out perfect every time!


Alright, well there you have it! Don't be surprised if our rustic bread becomes the new most-requested recipe by your family and friends… There's just something about homemade bread that brings you all together. Give it a try and let us know how you like it!

Rustic bread recipe wih words "easiest no-knead rustic bread" from Shelf Cooking

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Happy baking!