Easy Crusty Bread

 Easy Crusty Bread with watermark

To me, bread is France, France is bread, and thinking about bread could even make me feel a tad homesick actually. Getting nice freshly baked bread seems like such a fuss in North-London, whereas going to the bakery for a baguette was just part of my daily routine when I lived in France. I love everything about fresh bread: the smell, the crunchy crust, the soft, warm middle, and the endless possibilities of what to eat with it… A piece of square bread is good for the occasional toasted sandwich, but there is nothing like nice, crusty bread to mop up gravy, for butter and honey on toast or for a sandwich that feels like a treat. Oh gosh, I could live on baguette and smelly French cheese… Sorry, digression… Focus, Mel, focus! To go back to the subject matter, I did attempt making bread once when I was a teenager, and after kneading for what felt like hours, the loaf did not rise, then did not cook properly and I ended up with a charred, inedible lump of dough. My bread-making enthusiasm went straight to the bin with that loaf!

Since then, I had never thought of making my own bread again, until I stumbled upon a post on Janet’s blog, “Simply so Good”. The recipe only included 3 ingredients and tap water, a promise you would not have to knead and an unbelievably easy process. I was really sceptical… It really looked too easy to be true, but I decided to have a go.

What was the worst thing that could happen? We would not have yummy bread that night? Well, I had not had any since I had last gone to France so I thought having a go would not hurt, and it was so simple my four-year-old boy made the dough all by himself. I just had to supervise and give it a last stir.

It worked! The bread turned out just like it was supposed to! I have been making bread a couple of times a week ever since, after I adapted the recipe slightly to make it work for us. I have also been taking yummy loaves in pretty tea towels as presents when going to my friends’ for lunch.

Right, time to move on to serious business: how to make this delicious bread. Here is what you will need:

2 cups (300g) plain flour, 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour ½ tsp (1g) yeast (“easy bake” or “fast action”) 1 ½ tsp (10g) salt 1 ½ cups (350 ml) water

ingredients with watermark

First, get your ingredients together, and mix all the dry stuff in a large bowl with a spatula (I normally use a 2L bowl).

Add the water, and mix for a couple of minutes with your spatula.

I know, it looks like a little mount of gooey matter, and that is just the way it is supposed to look.

dough with watermark

Cover your bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm (not hot) place for 12 to 24 hours. I normally get the dough ready around 9 p.m. and cook the bread either at 12 p.m. for lunch the next day or around 6 p.m. for dinner.

raiseddough with watermark

When you are ready to cook your bread, preheat your oven to gas mark 8 (230 degrees Celsius / 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Using your spatula, drop the sticky dough on a heavily floured work surface (when I have people coming over and want to keep my kitchen clean, I use baking paper which I can throw away with the leftover flour). Shape the dough in a sort of ball and roll it in the flour so it gets covered all around.

Easy Crusty Bread in Le Creuset

Place your cooking dish (I use my cast iron Le Creuset casserole dish with the lid on or a loaf tin with foil on top) in the oven to warm for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, make sure the dough is nicely covered in flour all around and plop it in your chosen cooking dish (no grease needed, just put some flour in the bottom of your dish if you are worried the bread might stick). Cook for 30 minutes with the lid (or foil) on, and a further 15 minutes uncovered, and ta-da! You have delicious home-made bread…

Now good luck to resist the temptation to eat it as it is on your cooling rack…

bread with watermark

Alternatives: I really like a seeded loaf, and would normally add anything I have in the cupboard without measuring, from poppy seeds to sesame seeds, sunflower seeds to pumpkin seeds. Today I put two teaspoons each of poppy seeds and sesame seeds in my bread mix. I sometimes add a couple of tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I also think half a cup of walnuts makes bread that goes amazingly well with goat’s cheese. You can add anything you fancy to flavour your bread, from seeds to nuts to raisins to cheese to herbs. Just mix it with the flour, salt and yeast before adding the water.

If you use a loaf tin rather than a cast iron casserole dish, you will only need plain flour and your bread will raise beautifully.

Crusty Bread in Loaf Tin

 

Easy Crusty Bread

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Easy Crusty Bread

Delicious no-knead bread.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (300g) plain flour, 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp (1g) yeast (easy bake / fast action)
  • 1 ½ tsp (10g) salt
  • 1 ½ cups (350 ml) water

Instructions

Mix all the dry ingredients in a 2L bowl, then add the water, and mix for a couple of minutes with your spatula.

Cover your bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours.

When you are ready to cook your bread, preheat your oven to gas mark 8 (230 degrees Celsius / 450 degrees Fahrenheit). Using your spatula, drop the sticky dough on a heavily floured work surface. Shape the dough in a ball and roll it in the flour so it gets covered all around.

Place your cooking dish in the oven to warm for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, make sure the dough is nicely covered in flour all around and transfer it to your cooking dish (no grease needed, just put some flour in the bottom of your dish if you are worried the bread might stick).

Cook for 30 minutes with the lid (or foil) on, and a further 15 minutes uncovered, then transfer onto a cooling rack.

Tips

You can put nuts, raisins, cheese or seeds (e.g. poppy, sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin) in your dry mix before adding the water.

http://lecoindemel.com/easy-crusty-bread/


Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this post, you will probably like…

Comments

  1. Hi Mel, such a great easy recipe. Your photos are simply stunning. I have decided to follow your lovely blog too.

    • Hi Julie,
      Thanks a lot for your compliment about the photos. Starting this blog has been a great incentive to try and take better pictures. I am looking forward to reading your blog regularly.
      Mel

  2. This bread looks amazing, and so simple! Gorgeous photos too #recipeoftheweek

    • Thanks, I make this bread at least once a week, just because it is so yummy (and cheap too!). It is really nice of you to mention my photos. I took more than 200 for this first blog post, so the odds would really have been against me if none of them had turned out decent enough to go online… I will have a look at your blog now. Mel

  3. So I would really like a piece, that looks delicious. Also I love how you can save your recipes! That is really clever :) I am popping by from #recipeoftheweek

    • Hi Hannah,
      I was really pleased with myself when I installed the plugin! Some techy people out there are doing an amazing job! I will be posting a healthier version of the no-knead bread in the next couple of months, so keep coming back to the blog!
      Mel

  4. emilybeale says:

    Delicious! These pictures are great Mel, the use of natural light is fab, and there’ some lovely detail! I love the idea of bread this easy to make, I’ll certainly have a go at this one! Thank you for your lovely comment on my blog :)

    • Thanks for the comment about my photos Emily, it is a huge compliment coming from a (real) photographer with such a beautiful portfolio! Please let me know what you thought after making this bread! By the way, a rectangular cake tin works really well if you want a loaf rather than my round (very crusty) version.
      Mel

  5. This looks really easy, I hate making bread normally but might try this

    • Hi Alison,
      Come on, give it a try! I had never been successful at making bread before this, and believe me, you will not be disappointed! There is not one week when I do not make it. It is easy, mess free, and you do not have to get your hands in the gooey mixture! I would really like to know what you think, so have a go and let me know! Mel

  6. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays with this utterly beautiful loaf-my Dad was very impressed when I showed him. Are you on twitter as I wanted to tweet this out? I’m @honestmummy Thanks!

    • Hi there,
      Thanks, the loaves always look great, and taste even better, which is pretty amazing when you think of the effort-free process, really. Even though I have been writing my posts for a couple of months, I did not show anything to anyone until Sunday night, when I posted my pictures on Pinterest, and started trying to connect with the blogging world. I suppose I was worried nobody would be interested, or my posts would not be good enough. Getting your feedback (and your dad’s!) means a lot. I am a complete novice, and I do not tweet yet (the whole Twitter concept scares me a bit). Let me know when you have made your fist loaf, and if you subscribe to emails, you will get a new, healthier version of this loaf in the next couple of months! Mel

  7. I love love love bread but I haven’t come across this way before. Definitely going to give it a try – have pinned for memory!

    • Do have a go, it is wonderful! Let me know what you think after making it… and keep an eye at my posts for another version of this bread that uses a lot less white flour in the next couple of months. Mel

  8. Good looking loaf Mel – thanks for the recipe. Will definitely give it a go soon. One issue I have is that I now live in the US (ex Sussex boy). I don’t believe you can buy self-raising flour here, or it’s called something else. I’ll have to research this a little, as I believe the only difference is that self-raising flour has baking powder added?? Either way, I’ll figure it and post the ‘tweaked’ US-version here for your expanding audience overseas!

    • Hi,
      Thanks for having a look at my blog! If you use a loaf tin or round cooking vehicle that is not too large, then you can definitely use plain flour only. I have been doing that when I am away from home and buying one type of flour is easier. At home, I like my bread really crusty (perfect for smelly French cheese!), which is why I make it in my very large (28cm) Le Creuset round casserole dish. The original recipe was only using plain flour, but the bread was sometimes rather flat in my pot, and I found that adding self-raising flour helped. Mel

  9. This looks amazing. I have never made bread in a covered pot, but I am most definitely going to try this. What a result you get! Thanks for joining in with #recipeoftheweek – I’ve pinned and tweeted this recipe :) There’s a fresh linky live at the moment, so do please pop over if you haven’t already!

    • Hi Emily,
      Thanks for sharing my recipe. When you do try making the bread, let me know what you thought about it. I have a fresh loaf in my oven as it is my day off today! I have just started my little blog, and I have to say it is still a premature baby as I do not really know what I am doing, but I am sure I will be getting there soon. Your comment means a lot to me. I will have a look at what people have linked this week after the school run. Mel

  10. Hi Mel, looks and sounds heavenly! I love breadmaking but always will go for an easier option, I recently made bread in the slow cooker, this sounds perfect. I am over from Recipe of the Week and Tasty Tuesdays. Following on Bloglovin, keep on posting!! Jo x

    • Thanks Jo, the idea of bread in the slow cooker sounds great, how did it turn out? If you have a recipe for it, I would love to give it a go. Mel

    • Hi again Jo, I have tried leaving a comment on your blog, but did not manage, but I am now following you on Bloglovin. Mel

  11. claireyw says:

    That looks fab, and so easy! Love your tip about the baking parchment to keep the kitchen clean too. And I totally agree about bread…mmmm bread an cheese….

    • I know! Sometimes, you just have to make your life easier. Please do not mention bread and cheese… Now I quite fancy toasting some of that seeded loaf from yesterday…

  12. Your loaf looks amazing Mel! I will have to try making this as I’m always up for a no-fuss recipe and I’ve always wanted to bake bread. My Grandma used to bake all our bread when I was younger – she had a very specific recipe for brown bread which involved black treacle. She passed the recipe down to my Dad who knew that he would not be able to live without it once she was no longer with us and now he makes it regularly too! I will have to get the recipe off him one day… By the way I am wary of Twitter too – I’m on there as its useful for tweeting out post links but I don’t socialise on there the way I think you kind of need to to really get your viewing figures up. The thing that scares me about it is I feel like I could get sucked in and it would be a massive time-killer!!

    • Sam, this bread is really gorgeous (and so easy my three year old does the prep herself), you have to try it! I made four loaves at the week-end (2 white, 2 wholemeal) and I have a new batch of dough raising as I am writing. It is so easy to make I have not bothered buying bread for the past year. We always have part-baked baguettes at home just in case, but this bread is so scrumptious it is not tempting to eat anything else once you have tried it. Watch the blog as I will be posting my wholemeal version soon! Twitter scares me I have to say. It seems so open (she says, writing a blog!) and I have no idea how it operates. I think I will have to do my homework and find out a bit more about it before I sign up for it. x Mel

  13. Weeelllll….maybe I’ll just pop round for cake ;-)

    • Wise decision! We do get guests staying over for the night on a regular basis. We are creative in our use of space! x

  14. This looks delicious Mel! We have our holidays in France every year, and my children are bread and oil addicts! ;) Will definitely try this out! E x. #sharewithme

    • It is delicious! If baked in a loaf tin, it is perfect for sandwiches (and no need for the self-raising flour then, only plain will do). That is what I did today for our lunchboxes. My favourite is still the round, extra crusty one to eat with smelly cheese! Let me know what you think once you have made it. x Mel

  15. This looks FANTASTIC. I love bread!! I am going to have to make this as soon as possible, maybe with the stew I am making tonight. *quick dash to the store lol Thank you so much for joining in Share With Me. I bet the whole family would love this! I love bread with balsamic vinegar and oil so much I could eat it all day. Not good for my wasitline but hey ho it’s delicious. #sharewithme

    • This bread is an essential with stew at home! We had that on Sunday and dipping the bread in the meaty sauce is just divine. The loaf I was making earlier is cooling down now and it is really hard to resist tucking in before it is cool enough to be sliced! x Mel

  16. This looks so good I can almost taste it. Looks like quite an easy recipe too! #sharewithme

    • I just had a slice with Nutella and it was scrumptious! I do not think there is an easier way to make bread and we have a fresh loaf two or three times a week at home. Mel

  17. That looks amazing! I’m a sucker for warm, freshly baked bread :)
    x

    • It is! I just toasted the last two slices but forgot to make a batch of dough yesterday night so no fresh bread today… will have to be tomorrow! x Mel

  18. You were right – this looks amazing and so easy! Pinned it and I’ll be making it soon!

  19. I have guests for lunch today, and your bread is in the oven :-) thanks for the recipe hon xx

Trackbacks

  1. […] have kept this recipe under my sleeve for quite a long time, and since my easy crusty bread recipe has been so popular, I thought I would post the healthier version the lovely Sylvina and Sonia put […]

  2. […] If you do like cheese, you would love it with my easy, no-nonsense (no kneading or bread machine required) crusty bread. The recipe is just here. […]

  3. […] porridge with a glass of juice for hubby and the children; coffee and breakfast biscuits or toasted homemade bread for […]

  4. […] de Fromage (Cheese Board), Pain blanc et pain aux céréales (white bread and healthy […]

  5. […] the item I use the most in my kitchen. You can find photos of this classic in the following posts: Easy Crusty Bread, No Bake Cereal Bars, Apple Cake Recipe for Children, Apricot and Coconut Oat Cubes, Chocolate […]

  6. […] I love compound butters. They are easy to make and can be used for flavouring meat, fish, boiled potatoes, or simply spreading on a piece of crusty bread. […]

Thanks for taking the time to write a little message. Comments always make me smile! x Mel

%d bloggers like this: