The World’s Easiest Rustic Bread {No Kneading Required!}

rustic breadI couple of weeks ago I was invited to a “Witches Night Out” party with some neighbor friends. It was so fun to hang out with just the gals. We had a costume contest, played games and enjoyed a soup and bread potluck dinner.

I brought this AMAZING Chicken Taco Soup that Jenny Chase posted that day on my Facebook page after I went on there in a panic begging for a quick and easy soup idea!  (Will post the recipe later today!)

But as much as myself and the other witches enjoyed the SOUP, we also REALLY enjoyed the BREAD that Witch Becky brought! It tasted like it had just come from a fancy french bakery! The round loaf was very rustic-looking, and while it was nice and crunchy on the outside, the inside was warm and chewy!

Of course we were all pestering Witch Becky for the recipe and she just laughed as she told us how EASY it was to make! Since I am somewhat of a bread-making novice, I was super excited to give it a try myself!

rustic bread

About the only thing that is “tricky” about this recipe is the timing. Since you let it rise 12-18 hours the first time, it makes sense to let it do it’s thing overnight. My problem was I would remember I wanted to make it during the day, and then by that night I’d forgotten again. Of course now that I think about it, that’s more of an A.D.D. thing than a timing thing. The rest of you probably won’t have a problem with that at all. :-)

Well, I finally remembered one night last week to give this bread recipe a spin, and I have to say…it was probably the best loaf of bread I have ever made! (Not that that’s saying a WHOLE lot.) Don’t get me wrong…I still LOVE my Mom’s English Muffin Bread recipe…but this was a whole different type of bread and the flavor and texture were perfect!

So, get ready to be blown away at how EASY this is to make!

*Step One

Combine ………..

  • 3 cups white flour (next time I make this I’m going to try gluten-free flour)
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon salt

…….in a large bowl. Add 1 5/8 cup water (room temperature) to the dry ingredients and mix with a stiff spoon, dough will be sticky! This literally took me about one minute.

Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 12-18 hours at room temperature.

rustic bread

*Step Two

The dough will be ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles. (At this point I had another “timing issue” because I couldn’t get back to the project until almost a full 24 hours later. But it still worked out just fine!)

Now, take another bowl, spray it with cooking spray and sprinkle with flour and cornmeal. Dump the dough from one bowl to the other. Sprinkle top with flour and cornmeal as well. Cover and let rise for 2 more hours.

rustic bread

*Step Three

After 2 hours, preheat your oven AND the pot you are going to cook it in, to 450 degrees. I used my dutch oven, but Witch Becky used a round glass Pyrex dish with a lid, either one will do. When the oven and your pot of choice are preheated, dump it from the bowl to the pot. Put the lid on and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, take the lid off and then bake 10-20 minutes more.

Break bread and EAT!

rustic bread


rustic bread


As you can see in the picture above, this loaf actually does lend itself to “breaking bread” quite well.  So that’s how we ate it. But if we had had enough patience to allow it to cool off, we could have sliced it as well. Maybe next time. But doubtful. We are an impatient bunch when it comes to delicious, homemade bread. :-)


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  1. Jane George says

    Please let me know if you have success using GF flour and what brand you used. Of course I am hoping you are using one of the all in one commercial brands. My grandson would be thrilled with this type of loaf of bread. Thanks, Jane

    • Deborah Jennings says

      Lily, I think you’d need to use some gluten in a whole wheat flour. That is what my bread machine says to do for whole wheat bread. I got mine at Walmart. You can use half white and half wheat bread and it will work without the gluten. I hope this helps you.

    • Katy says

      Bread doesn’t often work well with 100% whole wheat flour – it comes out too dense and dry. Most recipes suggest using 50% whole wheat and 50% white flour as a maximum ratio. You could also try white whole wheat, which is supposed to have the benefits of WW but without the heaviness – or maybe rye or some other kind of alternative flour. Hope that helps!

    • says

      Add 1 Tbs of “vital wheat gluten” to the flour and stir it around. Continue as directed. This is what I do for my home-ground 100% whole red winter wheat in my bread machine (calls for 3.5 cups flour). And I have a bread that you can fold just like regular white sandwich bread (vs crumbling like “normal” whole wheat does when it’s bent).

        • CTY says

          I have used the WW flour that I grind myself (Kitchen-aid attachment), I use the medium grind setting but, before I use the flour I sift it. The parts that cause the most problem are sifted out. But then you have wheat bread without the “whole” component; no worries. I use what I sifted out instead of corn meal, thus adding back to the bread and making it a whole wheat bread again. Also my daughter-in-law the pastry chef says, if you don’t have a cover for your pot then right before you close the oven door- throw a cup of ice into your oven. Its the steam that makes the crust.

      • Chris says

        Darlene I don’t have a way to grind my own wheat and I use the store bought whole wheat flour to make a loaf the other day. It is a recipe that my sister in law makes and she does grind her own wheat. I however found that the first loaf I made by her recipe was so dense that I did not like it, so I did use the vital wheat gluten for a second load. I’m still not real impressed with the second loaf, even using the VWG, however my daughter loved both of them. I would love it if you could send me your recipe and let me give it a try, if it will work in my bread machine, as I would like to find a recipe that I like that is make with whole wheat. However if you think it won’t work as well with the store bought WW flour, please tell me since I don’t have a grinder to do my own with. I would love to find a good recipe that I could use in my bread machine, so I can just set it up and leave it alone until it is done. I’ve done a lot of cooking over the years, but am just now taking an interest in making bread, but only with a bread machine, as I don’t think I would enjoy doing it by hand.

  2. Kristy says

    I just made this yesterday, it was so easy and turned out amazing. Beautiful and delicious. You may have to lessen the amount of water depending on the flour you use. (some all purpose flour naturally more moisture,) The first couple times I tried this my loaf was a little flat, but this time I added less water and it was perfect. Don’t give up if the first attempt isn’t perfect, it is so worth fiddling with the recipe. You get to eat your results!!! :)

  3. Trixie says

    I’ve been baking an almost identical recipe that I just recently found and I love it. It doesn’t need cornmeal, I assume that’s just for the stickiness of the dough, though. If you want to try this bread and can’t get cornmeal, like another commenter asked above, the recipe is here: The recipe is almost the same. She also includes some variations on add-ins. My friend used orange zest and craisins in her last loaf. I used minced garlic, Italian seasoning, sea salt and dry grated parmesan cheese in mine. This bread is delicious. Have a great day.

    • Kristy Jevens says

      I used all purpose flour and I doubled the recipe (you can put the other half in the fridge and use at another time it works great) I started with 2 cups of water (for a single batch that would be 1 cup) and then added a few tablespoons at a time until it looked right. The only guideline I can give is that when the dough was really easy to stir was when I got a flat loaf. When it was very difficult to stir (but still wet) it turned out like the picture above. Does that make sense?

  4. Debbie Hendricks says

    This bread looks just like the 5 minutes a day artisan bread which is also easy to make, but for me tends to end up flatter than I would like. I wonder if I could follow the artisan bread recipe, then only real difference is that it calls for more yeast and a shorter rise time (2-4 hrs), and still bake it in the pyrex dish for the shape?

    • Donna R. says

      Yes, I’ve tried that artisan bread blob recipe, it’s awesome in a dutch oven for a nice round shape. I am also not a fan of 24 hour planning and will use Jillee’s english muffin bread if I’m in a hurry.

    • Rita says

      I always add a pinch of ginger to make sure it rises. There are other yeast enhancers if you Google it.

      I used to have problem making any kind of bread which usually turned out flat. Here’s what I’ve learned:

      1. Always proof the yeast even if the recipe says you don’t have to. I add the yeast to some of the water or all of it with the sugar. No salt at that time. (I have eleven year old yeast that is still good. I keep it in the freezer.)
      2. I purchased an oven thermometer because if the temp isn’t right, it won’t bake well. Most ovens are off, even the expensive ones.

      I bought a terra cotta plant saucer to use as a bread stone for the round loaves. Works great and much cheaper. Just keep it oiled when you use it.

      I also have made baguettes with this recipe. Divide into four, long, 2″ wide masses of wet dough. Baste with olive oil. Place garlic halves every few inches and then use sea salt or kosher salt sparingly across the tops. So good!!

  5. Melissa S. says

    We love no knead bread in our house! I usually double the recipe and make a big loaf. I use bread flou as it makes the yeast happy but you don’t have to. I love this recipe found here with all the variations and FAQ: I haven’t tried it with cornmeal but will have to do that next time; it sounds delicious. Oh one more thing, to save on dishes I personally wouldn’t dump the dough in another bowl for the second rise. Just use super well floured hands and put the dough right on a really well floured surface (tea towels, silicone baking mats and parchment paper – all well floured work great) then sprinkle the dough with more flour or cornmeal and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap to rise. That way you are only cleaning one bowl and are just wiping down your counter top. Such a yummy, easy, delicious recipe! Thanks for the cornmeal inspiration!

  6. Kathy Fuller says

    I’m just wondering if using a cast iron dutch oven would work? I mean, do you think I’d need to reduce the baking time? I have a stainless steel dutch oven, but would love to try the cast iron because I love to make cornbread and biscuits in my cast iron skillets. They’re always so crusty and good. :) This sounds so delicious. Thanks for sharing!! :)

  7. Deborah Jennings says

    I can’t wait to try this! I do have a recipe (from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook) that is similar to this, but its rise time isn’t near as long. (You do use an egg in the recipe I have. I love homemade bread and rolls!

  8. says

    if you only have an hour, here is a good bread to try. My family salivates over it!

    The first time I made it, I thought it a bit bland and tasteless so I made the following adjustments.
    I switched out the sugar for honey, the oil for butter, and I added 3/4 C of quick oats. If you don’t want a crunchy curst, ditch the eggwhite bath. After it’s done baking, take a stick of butter and rub the top and sides of the bread letting the butter melt onto the outside of the loaf.

    And Jillee, I love English Muffin Bread too!

  9. Valerie Cowger says

    I see that someone mentioned using ice to make steam, but what about just putting some foil over the pan? And is the cornmeal necessary, or just for texture ? (I don’t have any right now lol, but have everything else)

  10. Comet says

    There is a whole book devoted to this type bread–can’t think of the name but Google is our friend!

    Mark Bittman featured this in the NY Times a few years ago and I am sure the recipe is in the archives along with a fairly detailed procedure.

    The recipe is pretty much the same and you can add almost anything to this. One of the reasons to let it raise this long is to develop the GLUTEN so making this exact formula GF might be not so easy.

    The book tho might have a GF recipe or links or you could always contact Mark Bittman at NY Times for help.

    If your kitchen is cool use a PRE-WARMED bowl to help—fill with HOTTEST water and let heat bowl (heavy pottery is best) heat thru and dump, quickly wipe dry and put your ing in bowl. You can also place in oven with a hot pot of water to make it rise a bit faster.

    Cast iron works just fine with this!

    • Jennifer says

      The book is called My Bread from Jim Lahey. His book is amazing if you get the chance to buy it do it. It is a great addition to any cook book library. I bought it in 2009 when it first came out and have been using it ever since.

  11. Rebecca says

    I’ve made this without letting it rise a second time and it turned out the same. Also, in summer when it is hot, I put the bowl outside and it takes about 2 hours to get there instead of 12 or more. you could probably also raise the dough in a warm spot in the house like the oven with a low temp or pilot light on to speed things up. some people say the flavors are better with the longer rise time, but they are still good with a short rise time. this helps me because i don’t think about making bread for dinner until about 3pm usually.

  12. Debbie says

    I really like the tip about the Pyrex dish (and the crock pot insert), since I haven’t tried this yet due to not having a dutch oven.
    I don’t think you can preheat Pyrex. I looked on their website and found this:
    Can Pyrex bakeware break unexpectedly?

    All glass, even borosilicate, can experience thermal breakage if exposed to sudden or uneven temperature changes. You can avoid the most common causes of thermal breakage by following four simple rules:

    3. Always allow the oven to fully preheat before placing glass bakeware in the oven.

  13. Jody says

    I made this recipe this last weekend and while it tasted ok, it was so “crunchy” om the outside it was nearly impossible to cut even w/ a bread knife. Not burnt and still soft inside but the outside – wow. I think I’d be embarrassed to give it as a gift. Any idea what might have gone wrong?

  14. Jeanette says

    Hi, I tried this bread today. unfortunately it didn’t turn out as I expected. It was too dense and was actually tough. Any ideas what I may have done wrong? I may sound like a moron but I used self rising flour. should I have used plain? Even though I’m a good cook and have been cooking for 40 plus years, I never used yeast before, and any recipe that called for plain flour I left out the salt and levening agent and used self rising.

  15. Elva says

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe (and the yummy English muffin bread too). I made it tonight with 1c whole wheat and 2c AP flour and my family LOVED it! And it was so easy! I will say it was flatter than I expected and next time I’ll try to reduce the water per other readers’ suggestions to see if that helps. And there will be a next time!

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