This is a really easy artisan bread recipe that needs just 4-ingredients and about 15 minutes of hands-on time. No kneading, no special equipment!
This recipe produces a loaf of bread with lots of flavor that is the perfect texture perfect for dipping in soups and stews or slathering with butter.
What Makes This Artisan Bread So Easy
While a bread recipe doesn’t have specific requirements to be called ‘artisan bread’ they generally tend to have few ingredients and be handmade.
- 4 ingredients. This means little prep and little measuring.
- No kneading so most of the time is hands-off.
- Can be doubled and rest in the fridge up to a week to bake fresh another day.
- Makes a single loaf, perfect for one meal.
- No special tools or pan are needed.
Ingredients for Homemade Bread
Flour – I use all-purpose flour in this loaf to keep things simple since I always have it on hand already.
Yeast – This recipe uses active dry yeast which is mixed into the flour. Active Dry Yeast can be substituted for instant yeast (or rapid rise yeast). It will likely have a bit of a faster rise time so keep an eye on it.
Water – Warm water helps activate the yeast. Since the yeast is mixed into the flour, the water is a bit warmer (about 125°F) than it would be if you were blooming the yeast.
Salt – This recipe uses table salt, don’t skip or decrease the salt as it flavors the bread.
Cornmeal – Cornmeal is optional but adds a nice texture to the bottom of the loaf and helps keep it from sticking. You can put the parchment paper directly in the pan and skip the cornmeal.
How to Make Bread
- Mix dough: There is no need to knead this dough. Just stir the ingredients until well mixed per the recipe below.
- Rest: Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm place for a couple of hours.
- Form Loaf: The dough will be very sticky, generously sprinkle it with flour and transfer it to a prepared cast iron pan.
- Bake: Place a pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven and place the bread on the middle shelf. Bake as directed in the recipe below.
Tips for a Great Loaf
- Shredded cheese or herbs can be added to the dry ingredients in this bread.
- This bread can rise for as little as 30 minutes during the second rise and will bake beautifully. It can also rise up to 90 minutes if time allows (I’ve labelled to two sliced loaves with rise time in this post). The longer rise time will produce a more flavorful bread with a slightly chewier texture.
- Handle the dough carefully after it has risen, you want to keep all of the air pockets in the dough intact.
- This easy bread recipe can be doubled and half of the dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week after the first rise. If the dough is chilled, it will need at least 60 minutes for the second rise.
- The dough will be very sticky so be sure to flour the outside of the dough before handling it.
- Adding water to a pan below the bread adds steam to the oven, making a better crust.
Easy Bread Recipe
- 2 ½ cups all purpose flour additional for dusting
- 1 ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 1 ¼ cup very warm water 125°F
- 2 teaspoons cornmeal optional
- Grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet or pan. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of cornmeal and set aside.
- Whisk flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl.
- Add the warm water and stir to combine. The dough will be very sticky and wet.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.
- Sprinkle the top of the dough flour and rub your hands with flour. Turn the dough onto a floured surface (I use parchment paper). The dough will be extremely sticky, sprinkle flour on the underside and gently fold in the sides to create a ball (it'll be delicate and a bit flat).
- Place seam side down in the prepared pan. Dust the top with additional flour if needed and cover with a towel. Let rise 30-90 minutes. *see note
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- Score the bread, about 1/8-inch deep 2-3 times.
- Fill a baking dish or small pan with about 2-inches of water and place it on the bottom rack of the oven.
- Add the cast iron pan with the bread to the middle rack of the oven. Bake 24-28 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
- Additions: Shredded cheese or fresh herbs can be added to the dry ingredients in this bread.
- Rise Time: This bread can rise for as little as 30 minutes during the second rise and will bake beautifully. It can also rise up to 90 minutes if time allows. The longer rise time will produce a more flavorful bread with a slightly chewier texture.
- Dough: The dough will be very sticky so be sure to flour the outside of the dough before handling it. Handle the dough carefully after it has risen, you want to keep all of the air pockets in the dough intact.
- Baking: Adding water to a pan below the bread adds steam to the oven, making a better crust.
- Double up: This easy bread recipe can be doubled and half of the dough can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 week after the first rise. If the dough is chilled, it will need at least 60 minutes for the second rise.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Recipe Adapted BHG, 17th Edition New Cookbook. “Everyday Artisan Bread”. Recipe. Des Moines, IA, 2018. 490. Print.