Crusty Bread, like you’d find in Europe, doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, with just 4 ingredients, it’s one of the easiest yeast breads to try. The perfect recipe if you’ve been wanting to make your own bread– get it started with just 10 minutes of prep time in the morning, and you’re ready to pop it in the oven for dinnertime!
Today I have a special treat for you– a guest post from my sister, Julie. Like me, Julie is a homeschool mom. She’s got 2 sweet kids, 1 tiny dog, hutches full of rabbits, and a fabulous decor ability.
Julie lived last year with her family in a camper while they rehabbed a fixer-upper house. Home-cooked meals happen daily at their house (even when they were living in the camper), and they’re always delicious. This 4 ingredient crusty bread recipe is no exception!
Without further ado, here’s Julie:
What can a person really say about crusty bread unless they have tasted it themself? Years ago wandering about and living in Europe, crusty bread was as common as our white bread on the shelf. Walking into any grocery store, the first thing I smelled was beautiful yeast filled yummies of all sorts. The bakery counter was something of beauty as I stood there looking at breads that until that time I had only seen in magazines.
Cheese bread, danishes, pretzels, variations of breads that I did not know the name for. And once I tasted them I was hooked.
Crusty European bread comes in a round loaf, often decorated with beautiful patterns on top. And when warm and fresh out of the oven, it pairs beautifully with soup. When cooled, it is sliced to make sandwiches, some of which I have never before seen repeated in the states: radish sandwich (this was not on my top favorites), cheese sandwich, liverworst sandwich, schnitzel, tomato, etc.
All of these sandwiches had at least a quarter inch of butter slathered against this beautiful crusty bread, and made my heart dance each time I ate them.
The down side of coming back to America was this severe lack of pastries. Had I come back to live in some other large city, I would have been assured of my crusty bread. But coming back to the desolate land of Idaho, in an area that lacked these outside cultures, there was absolutely no chance of seeing this, or replicating any such thing.
I began working at a bread store, and one of my only consolations of this job was that maybe we would be able to reproduce this bread. A few of my coworkers had traveled to distant lands and had also tasted this amazing crusty bread, but when mentioning this beautiful delight they all said it was impossible to recreate such a thing.
Our ovens, I was told needed to be made allowing steam to come in while the bread was baking in order to reproduce the hardness that characterized European crusty bread. I was very disappointed. During my two years working at this bakery I was never able to get close to duplicating this crusty bread.
Fast forward years later, and we had been invited to a friends house for dinner. Wonderful people, great people, but much more energy than my own family. Energy that didn’t shun away from a child climbing along the kitchen counter tops, or flinging themselves off the stair well.
Surrounded by a kitchen undergoing a one year remodel, there was a hot plate, a griddle and I believe a crockpot on the counter, amid clutter of every kind. This friend had just gotten a working stove hooked up days before we were invited over.
As we settled down to the makeshift table, we were served mounds of delicious steak and then she realized that she had forgotten the bread. Her son had my son in a head lock and kept telling him just how glad he was to have him over, when my friend rounded the corner carrying a loaf of what looked just like the European crusty bread I loved! Could it be?
I had not tasted this beautiful crusty bread for years at this point. And yet it was!! I was flabbergasted. I asked her how she was able to make this bread. (How in the name of all that was right was she able to pull this off in the galley of a kitchen as we had just seen?)
She said it was really easy, just 4 ingredients.
No, I thought. This could not be true. She said that she would send me the recipe that she had used. So, as I marveled at this precious luck and enjoyed this wonderful bread, I couldn’t wait to try this recipe.
The recipe that she gave me made a bread that turned out well. But it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, or remembering. Also, it was a little complicated.
Part of the recipe said that you needed to place the pot you would be cooking with into the heated oven (without bread in it) for 10 minutes to let the pot heat up. Well, I of course burned myself when putting the dough into the pan.
So, because I wanted it to be an easy recipe, I’ve changed things a bit, making the recipe more user-friendly.
As I have continued to make this bread I have also found that by adding a bit of rosemary it added that perfect amount of culinary interest. I haven’t added roasted garlic, or olives, or basil, but these are all rolling around in my mind.
So I present to you the modified version of that recipe that has my family bubbling over with ooohs and aaahs when I make it for our dinner.
Afraid to bake a bread using yeast? Check out this 4 Ingredient Soda Bread recipe!
- 3 cups flour
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp yeast
- 1 1/2 cup warm water (apx. 110 degrees)
- Mix flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl mix warm water and yeast. Gently stir, allowing yeast to dissolve, approximately 1 minute.
- Add water/yeast mixture to the flour mixture and mix all ingredients together. **(See note below)
- Cover bowl. Let rise 8-12 hours.
- Heat oven to 450 degrees.
- Take dough out of bowl and knead on a floured surface. Dough will be very sticky. Knead several times.
- Shape into a round ball.
- Spray oven safe pan with oil, the pan should have an oven safe lid or a way to cover itself, lid should be sprayed with oil
too. Place dough into pan and close lid.
- Put pan into heated oven for 30 minutes.
- Remove lid from pan and bake another 7-15 minutes.
- When bread is browned on outside, remove from oven and let bread rest about 5-10 minutes before slicing.
*If you want to add an herb like rosemary or garlic, add it when you mix the flour mixture with yeast mixture.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 137Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 467mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 4g
The nutritional information provided here is not guaranteed to be accurate and is provided for informational (and google) purposes only.