3 minutes active effort, no knead, no stand mixer, highly flexible and forgiving, this homemade bread can be on your table in less than 3 hours OR prepare the dough up to 3 days in advance for a handy “grab and bake” option. This is life changing!
Phenomenal EASY yeast bread recipe
This is an extraordinary white bread recipe with outstanding results. While it’s easy and forgiving, making it suitable for beginners, experienced bakers will recognise and appreciate the Artisan bread characteristics – large holes in the crumb like your favourite sourdough bread with that signature chewiness, and a thick, crispy crust.
It’s a gold nugget recipe, and you may never buy bread again after trying this!
Here’s why it’s so easy:
No knead, no stand mixer 3 minutes active effort – you won’t even get your hands dirty Dutch oven (cast iron pot) ideal but not necessary Incredibly forgiving dough, with rise times ranging from 2 hours to 3 days (yes, really, you choose what works for you) Easy but yet no compromise on quality of bread
What you need to make this homemade bread recipe
Here’s what you need to make homemade bread from scratch – yeast, flour, salt and water. Yep, really, that’s it!
Make this famous Irish Soda Bread instead. The world’s best bread made with NO YEAST!
Yeast – my base recipe uses Rapid Rise or Instant Yeast which does not need to be dissolved in water. But it works just as well with normal yeast (“Active Dry Yeast” or just “dry yeast”) – you just need to change the order of the steps and dissolve the yeast in water first. The bread comes out exactly the same! Best flour for homemade bread – use bread flour if you can. Bread flour has more protein in it than normal flour which means more gluten, and this makes the dough more elastic and yields a more fluffy yet chewy texture inside the bread, as well as creating the big holes you see in the photos, like sourdough bread. However, this bread is still spectacular made with normal flour too! How to make the world’s easiest homemade bread – Artisan style!
Here are process steps with tips, but also see the video below – super handy to see the dough consistency, and how to form the dough.
1. Make wet sticky dough
Mix together the flour, salt and yeast, then add warm water and mix. The “dough” will be very wet and sloppy, not kneadable at all – this is what you want! See video at 17 seconds for consistency.
Cover with cling wrap then place it in a warm place (25 – 30°C / 77 – 86°C) for 2 hours. The dough will increase in volume by double or more, the surface will become bubbly and the dough will be wobbly, like jelly. See video at 24 seconds for consistency.
OPTIONAL – develop flavour: Once dough has risen, you can bake immediately. OR, for better flavour, refrigerate for a minimum of 8 hours, up to 3 days. Time = better flavour development.
Bread in photos and video were baked immediately. I usually make this dough in the morning, refrigerate all day then bake in the evening. Or make the dough in the evening, refrigerate overnight and bake fresh in the morning! (10 – 12 hours in fridge). Beauty of this bread is that you can bake anytime!
3. Preheat oven & pot
No dutch oven? No problem! Just bake it on a tray – see the recipe notes.
30 minutes before dough has risen, or while refrigerated dough is coming to room temperature, place dutch oven (cast iron pot) in the oven to preheat at 230°C/450°F.
Hot oven + hot pot = bread rising boost!
4. Scrape dough out
Scrape dough out of bowl onto floured work surface. It will be wet and sticky and that’s exactly what you want – because we will not be kneading it! In fact, you won’t even touch it with your hand.
PRO TIP: Dough handling and shaping technique devised to minimise addition of flour. Less flour = wetter dough = bigger air pockets, fluffier bread and more moist.
5. Shape the dough very roughly
Use a dough scraper or anything of similar shape (spatula, cake server, or large knife) to fold the sides in so it roughly resembles a round disc.
Don’t get too hung up on the shaping – you’ll deform it in the next step!! This step is mainly to deflate the dough.
6. FLIP dough upside down onto paper
Slide a large piece of baking / parchment paper next to the dough, then flip it upside down onto the paper using the scraper so the seams from the step above are face down, and you have the smooth side up.
Slide/push the dough into the centre, then briefly reshape it into a round or slightly oval shape.
Do not get too hung up on a neat shape – this bread is supposed to be rustic! Besides, scruffier shape = more awesome crispy ridges
7. Prepare to bake!
Remove very hot pot from oven, then use paper to pick up the dough and put it in the pot, and put the lid on.
See recipe notes for no dutch oven method.
Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on (this creates a steamer effect, allowing the bread to rise while it cooks before crust sets), then 12 minutes with the lid off to brown and crisp up the crust. The surface will crack – and you want this, for extra crispy ridges!! And it looks authentic, just like the Artisan bread you buy at bakeries. 😇
Cool for 10 minutes before slicing. This is important – to let the centre of the bread finish cooking (if you slice too early, it will seem a bit doughy. Patience was never my greatest virtue, so I learnt this first hand!)
Remember – you can make this bread recipe WITHOUT a dutch oven!
Why this bread recipe works – and TIPS! Loose, sticky dough = easier to rise than firmer dough. No kneading = rough dough, but because the dough is so soft, it puffs up enough to “smooth out” the roughness. Super forgiving dough – too stiff, add water. Too wet, add flour. Dough not rising? Move it to a warmer place. Takes 45 minutes to rise or 5 hours? It will still work. As long as your dough as the same consistency as what you see in the video and you let it rise to double the volume, this bread recipe will work as long as the yeast is not past its expiry date! Why you need a preheated dutch oven for no knead bread recipes – to create a steamy environment to give the bread a rise boost before the crust sets (which stops the bread from rising). Professional bakeries are equipped with steam ovens – the cast iron pot is the home method! Don’t have a dutch oven? No problem! Recreate the steamy environment by placing hot water in a pan in the oven, and bake the bread on a tray. Big holes in the crumb – loose dough from less flour, high oven temp and preheated pot allows the yeast to give the bread a great rise boost, creating big air pockets. Also the use of bread flour rather than normal flour helps – you get less large holes using normal flour. Bake immediately if it’s a bread emergency…. …but you’ll be rewarded with tastier bread if you leave the dough 8+ hours in the fridge! I normally make dough first thing in the morning (it takes 3 minutes!) then bake that night. Or make dough at night and bake in the morning. (~12 hrs in fridge for both scenarios) Why refrigerating the dough creates a better tasting bread – because the fridge slows down the fermentation of the yeast (ie dough stops rising, if it kept rising it would kill the rising power of the yeast), allowing the enzymes in the yeast to do their work, transforming starch into sugar which creates a more flavourful bread. So we make the dough rise first, then refrigerate it.
All the ways to eat this bread!
Everything you do with bread you buy, you can do with this bread. It truly has the structure of bakery bread, so there are no limits!
Eat it fresh out of the oven, slathered with butter. Make sandwiches, toast it, mop plates clean, dunk it in soups and stews. Make bruschetta, garlic bread, grilled cheese, CHEESY garlic bread or Cheese and Garlic CRACK Bread!
I hope you enjoy this crusty bread recipe as much as I do. This really is one of those gold nugget recipes that you’ll make once and treasure forever! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
World's Easiest Yeast Bread recipe – Artisan, NO KNEAD
Recipe video above. This super crusty homemade bread recipe is going to blow your mind! The world’s easiest yeast bread that’s just like the very best artisan bread you pay top dollar for, with an incredible crispy, chewy crust, and big fat holes like sourdough. Recipe is forgiving so don’t fret if things don’t go perfectly, it will be salvageable. SEE NOTES for options like no dutch oven, different yeast, MAKE AHEAD up to 3 days!
3 cups (450g) flour (, bread or plain/all purpose (Note 1)) 2 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast ((Note 2 for normal / active dry yeast)) 2 tsp salt (, cooking / kosher salt (Note 3)) 1.5 cups (375 ml) very warm tap water (, NOT boiling or super hot (ie up to 55°C/130°F) (Note 4)) Dough shaping 1.5 tbsp flour (, for dusting)
Mix Dough: Mix flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Add water, then use the handle of a wooden spoon to mix until all the flour is incorporated. Dough will be wet and sloppy – not kneadable, but not runny like cake batter. Adjust with more water or flour if needed for right consistency (see video at 17 sec, Note 5).
Rise: Cover with cling wrap or plate, leave on counter for 2 – 3 hours until it doubles in volume, it’s wobbly like jelly and the top is bubbly (see video at 24 seconds). If after 1 hour it doesn’t seem to be rising, move it somewhere warmer (Note 6).
Optional – refrigerate for flavour development (Note 9): At this stage, you can either bake immediately (next step) or refrigerate for up to 3 days. I usually bake immediately, or refrigerate overnight then bake in the morning. Bread in photos & video is 2 hr rise, immediate bake.
Take chill out of refrigerated dough – if you refrigerated dough per above, leave the bowl on the counter for 45 minutes while the oven is preheating.
Preheat oven (Note 7) – Put dutch oven in oven with lid on (26cm/10" or larger). Preheat to 230°C/450°F (220° fan) 30 minutes prior to baking. (Note 8 for no dutch oven)
Shape dough: Sprinkle work surface with 1 tbsp flour, scrape dough out of bowl. Sprinkle top with ½ tbsp flour.
Using a dough scraper or anything of similar shape (cake server, large knife, spatula), fold the sides inwards (about 6 folds) to roughly form a roundish shape. Don’t be too meticulous here – you’re about to deform it, it’s more about deflating the bubbles in the dough and forming a shape you can move.
Transfer to paper: Slide a large piece of parchment/baking paper (not wax paper) next to the dough, then flip the dough upside down onto the paper (ie seam side down, smooth side up). Slide/push it towards the middle, then reshape it into a round(ish) shape. Don't get too hung up about shape. In fact, lopsided = more ridges = more crunchy bits!
Dough in pot: Remove piping hot dutch oven from oven. Use paper to place dough into pot, place lid on.
Bake 30 minutes covered, then 12 minutes uncovered or until deep golden and crispy.
Cool on rack for 10 minutes before slicing.
Fridge up to 3 days – Rise dough per recipe, then leave in bowl and refrigerate up to 3 days. Flavour gets better with time. Dough will stay bubbly for a day or two, then will deflate – that’s fine. Shape into round and place on paper per recipe, then leave for 30 minutes to take the chill out of it, then bake per recipe. Cooked bread – great fresh for 2 days, then after that, better warmed or toasted. Keep in an airtight container or ziplock bag. This stays more fresh than usual homemade bread, especially if you use bread flour. Freeze cooked bread for up to 3 months.
1. Flour – bread flour will give a more the crumb a more chewy, fluffy texture like bakery Artisan bread because it has higher protein, and bread stays fresher for longer. Plain / all purpose flour still works 100% perfectly, texture is just not quite the same.
Wholemeal/wholewheat flour – start with 30g/ 1/4 cup less flour and just add more as needed to get the consistency shown in the video (because wholemeal flour is a bit more absorbent than white, I find).
2. Yeast – use yeast labelled “instant” or “rapid rise”. If you can only find normal yeast (can be labelled “active dry yeast”) then dissolve yeast in water first (no need to let it foam), then immediately add flour and salt and mix. Proceed with recipe as written.
3. Salt – reduce to 1 ¼ tsp if using table salt (finer grains = less volume for same amount of salt)
4. Water temperature – if it’s so scorching hot you wouldn’t bathe in it, it will kill the yeast. If it’s a lovely temp you could sit in for hours in a bubble bath, it’s the perfect temp.
5. Dough consistency can be affected by factors like different brands of flour, humidity in air. If dough is too dry, add touch of water. Too wet, add a touch of flour. Compare to video at 17 seconds and photos above.
6. Dough rising – time will vary depending on room temperature, humidity, flour you use etc. It’s fine if it rises faster or slower – you just need to achieve the dough rise as specified (double volume, bubbly surface, wobbly consistency, per video at 24 seconds). I told you – this recipe is forgiving!
If it’s coldish in your kitchen (22°C/70°F or less) OR it’s just not rising (check at 1 hour), then tuck the bowl somewhere warmer. Yeast loves warmth!
Simple method I use: in sink with warm (not hot) water, with ramekin to elevate bowl above water level. Or run dryer for a few minutes then place bowl in there. Do not put bowl in direct sunlight indoors – too hot. But in shade near sunlight is good!
If dough rises faster than 2 hours (eg super hot day), then put bowl in fridge to stop the rise while you preheat the oven. On super hot summer days, it can rise in 45 minutes!
7. Oven preheating – If baking immediately, start preheating oven when you can see dough is rising (at 1.5 hours) or if you refrigerated, while dough is resting to take chill out of it.
It’s also fine to shape the dough into a round, place it on parchment paper and leave for 30 minutes while oven preheats (I told you this is a flexible recipe!!)
8. Dutch oven (cast iron pot) creates a steamer effect, a home version of professional steamer ovens used by bakeries to make bread.
Pot size does not matter as long as it’s about 26cm/10″ or larger. Pot does not shape the bread, it’s to act as a steamer. Just need one large enough to give bread steaming space.
No dutch oven method – use 20cm/8” square metal pan (or similar but NOT glass, may shatter). Place in oven on middle shelf where bread will bake (or shelf under if tray won’t fit on same shelf), preheat oven. Boil kettle. Place paper with shaped dough on a baking tray. When you put the bread in, work fast as follows – place bread in oven, fill pan with boiling water, shut oven door = makeshift dutch oven steamer effect! Bake for full 40 minutes until it’s a deep golden brown.
Heavy roasting pan with high lid should also work – preheat per recipe. Bread is about 8-10cm/3.2-4″ tall.
9. Fridge = slows down yeast rising = time to let enzymes in the yeast to do their work, transforming starch into sugar which creates a more flavourful bread. See notes in post for more info.
10. Different measures in different countries – cup sizes differ slightly between countries. The difference is not enough to affect the outcome of most recipes, but for baking recipes, it does matter. For this bread, as long as you use EITHER cups OR weights & mls for the flour and water, this recipe will work fine (I tested with US and Aus cups which have the greatest variance in size).
12. Source: Adapted from this recipe from New York Times (halved the recipe to make one batch, and added useful tips and tricks after much trial and error over the years).
12. Nutrition per slice
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Life of Dozer
Just keeping a close eye on it for me….
Good job Dozer. Here’s your treat. Look, I even buttered it for you! (PS He’s in his robe because it’s a rainy day yet I still took him to the beach!!!)
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