Irresistible Crusty White Bread: Bake Like a Pro at Home

Easy Homemade Crusty White Bread Recipe for Beginners

Discover the joy of baking a perfect, crusty loaf of country-style white bread right in your own kitchen. With just a Dutch oven and digital scale, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to create bakery-quality bread at home.

Welcome, bread enthusiasts! Today, we’re diving into the wonderful world of homemade bread. Don’t let yeast intimidate you – humans have been making bread for thousands of years, long before modern technology. It’s time to reclaim this ancient craft and fill your home with the mouthwatering aroma of freshly baked bread.

Baking bread isn’t just possible; it’s a delightful, rewarding experience that will have you hooked in no time. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the cozy warmth of a kitchen with bread in the oven on a chilly day.

Mastering the Art of Home Bread Baking

Let’s break down the four key stages of bread baking that we’ll be exploring throughout this series:

  • Mixing: Combining our simple ingredients – flour, water, salt, and yeast – to create a cohesive dough.
  • Proofing and shaping: Allowing the yeast to work its magic, creating flavor and helping the dough rise. We’ll also guide the dough into its final shape during this stage.
  • Baking: Transforming our carefully nurtured dough into a golden, crusty loaf through the wonders of heat and chemistry.
  • Storing and enjoying: Savoring our creation (try not to devour it all at once!) and properly storing any leftovers.

These pillars form the foundation of our bread-baking journey. As we explore different recipes, you’ll see how they all fit into this framework. Along the way, you’ll pick up the lingo that bakers use, demystifying terms like “bread formula” and “proofing.”

Introducing the Workhorse Loaf: Your Go-To White Bread Recipe

Our star recipe is a versatile, crusty white bread that’s perfect for beginners and seasoned bakers alike. This four-ingredient wonder produces two hearty loaves with a beautifully open crumb. It’s a blank canvas for your culinary creativity – add seeds, turn it into a rye variation, or enjoy it in its pure, simple form.

  • All Purpose Flour: 1,000 g (100%)
  • Water: 700 g (70%)
  • Salt: 22 g (2.2%)
  • Yeast: 10g (1%) if using fresh; 5g (0.5%) if using active dry yeast; 4g (0.4%) if using instant
  • Total Dough Weight: 1,732g (173.2%)

You might notice we’re using a formula rather than a traditional recipe. Why? Formulas, based on ratios, make it incredibly easy to scale your bread up or down. Whether you’re baking for two or twenty, you’ll always get consistent results. As you become more comfortable with bread formulas, you’ll gain the confidence to tweak recipes and create your own signature loaves.

Crusty White Bread: Your New Favorite Recipe


  • 1000g all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 700g room-temperature water, divided if using active dry yeast
  • 22g salt
  • 4g instant yeast, 5g active dry yeast, or 10g fresh yeast (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable, canola, or other neutral oil, for greasing


  1. Begin by combining the flour and water in your stand mixer bowl with the dough hook attached. If you’re using active dry yeast, reserve 50g of warm water to activate it separately. Mix at low speed until you have a uniform dough. No stand mixer? No problem! Use a dough spatula to mix in a large bowl. Cover and let the dough rest for 15 minutes to 1 hour – this relaxation period is crucial for gluten development.
  2. Now, add the salt and your chosen yeast (if using active dry, add the yeast solution you prepared). Mix until everything is fully incorporated and your dough looks smooth and cohesive.
  3. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and let it work the dough for 3-5 minutes. You’re looking for a dough that feels elastic and springs back when you poke it. If you’re mixing by hand, you’ll develop this elasticity through the folding process in the next step.
  4. Transfer your dough to a lightly oiled bowl, handling it gently to preserve the gluten structure you’ve developed. Cover and let it rest for 30 minutes. Then, it’s time for some dough aerobics! With wet hands, grab an edge of the dough, stretch it up and fold it over itself. Rotate the bowl and repeat this process two more times. This folding technique builds strength in your dough and creates that coveted open crumb structure. Let the dough rise until it’s increased in volume by half, about 90 minutes.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, divide your dough in half and shape each portion into a ball. Let these dough balls rest under a towel for 15 minutes – they’ve been working hard and deserve a break!
  6. Time for the final shaping! Gently fold each dough ball over itself, creating surface tension. Flip them over so the smooth side is up and let them rest for 5 minutes. Then, carefully transfer each loaf, seam-side up, to a floured proofing basket or bowl. Let them rise in a cool spot until nearly doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes.
  7. While your loaves are rising, place a Dutch oven on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat to 500°F (260°C). Skip the convection setting for this recipe.
  8. Showtime! Gently turn one loaf into your scorching Dutch oven, seam-side down. Score the top with two parallel lines about 3 inches apart – this allows for beautiful expansion during baking. Spritz the surface with water for extra crustiness. Cover and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 450°F (235°C) and bake for another 15 minutes. Uncover for the final 15-20 minutes until your loaf is a deep golden brown.
  9. Transfer your freshly baked loaf to a wire rack and resist the urge to slice into it for at least an hour – this rest period is crucial for the texture. While you’re waiting, reheat your Dutch oven and repeat the process with your second loaf. Congratulations, you’ve just baked two professional-quality loaves of bread!


For consistent, professional results, a scale is non-negotiable in bread baking. It ensures accuracy that cup measurements simply can’t match. This versatile recipe works with multiple types of yeast, so use whichever is available to you.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
154 Calories
1g Fat
32g Carbs
4g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20 to 24
Amount per serving
Calories 154
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 357mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 32g 12%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 7mg 1%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 46mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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