Easiest Rustic Bread Recipe EVER | Simple & Delicious! - Shelf Cooking (2024)

No knead, no loaf pan, no Dutch oven, no problem! Our rustic bread recipe is so simple, using only 5 ingredients that you likely have stashed in your cupboards. In just a few hours, you'll have the most delicious bread that has an amazingly crispy crust and is pillow-soft inside!

Easiest Rustic Bread Recipe EVER | Simple & Delicious! - Shelf Cooking (1)

There's nothing better than homemade bread, fresh out of the oven. It's perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacktime, or any time of the day, really! But one of our favorite things about it? It's one of the best ways to stretch a meal and get those bellies full!

Don't forget, I have an entire digital recipe ebook with all of my favorite bread recipes! Grab your copy of Our Favorite Bread Recipes Ebook here!

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This is my most viral recipe for the last few years! You simply can't go wrong with our rustic bread; it goes well with anything. Even non-bakers can have this turn out perfectly delicious every time! We love that you don't need any fancy gadgets for it, although a stand mixer does keep you from working up a sweat 😉 So what are we waiting for? Let's get on to…

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We could make this every week and never get tired of it… Shoot, we could make it every day and never get tired of it! You won't be disappointed, we promise. Plus, it's a great shelf cooking recipe because all of these ingredients are kitchen staples!

Here are some tips for preventing a heavy, or overly doughy, loaf:

  • Weigh out your flour using a food scale! This will keep you from using too much or too little. If you don't have a food scale, fluff the flour and use a spoon to add flour to the measuring cup versus scooping it out in the measuring cup.
  • Start by using two cups of water and slowly add in the third until your batter is the correct consistency.
  • Dough should be slightly sticky to the touch, but not so that much comes off on your hands. If it’s too sticky to handle, add ¼ cup more flour at a time.
  • You can bake your bread in a dutch oven, if needed. It should take about 50 minutes to an hour to bake completely.
  • You can also bake your bread in loaf pans, but the outside won’t get crispy. The normal cook time should be enough.
  • If your crust is getting too brown, you can tent foil over it so the outside won’t keep cooking.
  • Use a thermometer to check the inside. It should read at least 190°F before you take it out of the oven.
  • Tap the bottom of the loaf to check for doneness. If it sounds hollow, it's perfect.
  • If the bread is hard, lower the oven temperature by 25°F and cook for 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Don't cut the bread for at least an hour, as the crumb is still forming. This will keep it from deflating!

We've made this so. many. times. and it has turned out so delicious every time. It's so dang good!


If you manage to have any bread left over (and that's a big if!), store the sliced bread in an airtight bread bag or zipper bag at room temperature. If it's a full loaf, store it in a brown paper bag to keep the crust from going soft. If it's half a loaf, place the open side face-down on a cutting board.

Rustic bread usually only lasts for a few days before it starts going stale. At that point, you can repurpose it for something else, if that's your thang. (Those ideas are comin' atcha below!)

Rustic bread also freezes really well! Wrap your whole loaf in plastic wrap and aluminum foil to help prevent freezer burn. When you're ready to thaw, just leave it wrapped up on the counter for a few hours and it'll be good as new. You can also freeze slices of bread, so don't be afraid to throw those in a freezer baggie if you have any leftover as well! They're handy for when you just need a slice or two of bread versus the whole loaf.


Easiest Rustic Bread Recipe EVER | Simple & Delicious! - Shelf Cooking (2)

Alright, here are our favorite ways to eat this rustic bread, both fresh and when it's starting to go stale. Don't even think about wasting it because it's too delicious for that! 😉

  • Alongside Soup – You can never ever ever go wrong with soup and bread!
  • With Pasta – The same goes for pasta dishes! The bread tastes so good sopping that sauce up.
  • Fancy Grilled Cheese – Take your grilled cheese to the next level by using this delicious bread versus plain ‘ol white bread.
  • Cheesy Garlic Bread – Talk about elevating a recipe! Rustic bread is the perfect way to make this delicious snack/meal/appetizer/just because.
  • French Toast – Don't sweat it if your bread is starting to go stale! Our French toast recipe is the perfect way to revive it.
  • Cinnamon Toast – Bread + butter + cinnamon sugar topping = Heaven. Seriously, all it takes is popping it in the oven for 5-10 minutes until everything gets warm and gooey and you'll be on your way to paradise!
  • Make into Croutons – Cut stale bread into uniform chunks and toss with olive oil or butter and seasonings (garlic powder is a must!). Bake in the oven at 375°F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring once.
  • Turn into Bread Crumbs – It's so easy to make your own bread crumbs!

Pro Tip: Plan your meals around when you're making your bread. This will help you use it up before it goes stale! You'll know when to make it fresh to accompany your favorite meals, then turn it into something else before it goes bad.


Alright, it's the moment you've been waiting for! 😉

Easiest Rustic Bread Recipe EVER | Simple & Delicious! - Shelf Cooking (3)

Rustic Bread Recipe

A warm, crusty rustic bread goes with just about any meal and it's so simple to make! Throw it together, let it rise, and you'll have a yummy bread that's ready for dinner in just a few hours' time. No bread pan needed!

4.42 from 68 votes

Print Recipe Pin Recipe

Prep Time 1 hour hr 30 minutes mins

Cook Time 30 minutes mins

Total Time 2 hours hrs

Course Side Dish

Cuisine American

Servings 2 loaves


  • 3 cups warm water
  • 2 ¼ tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 cups (750 g) flour
  • 3 tsp salt


  • Mix water, yeast, and sugar in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Let sit for about 10 minutes until bubbly.

  • Add flour and salt. Mix until combined into a soft dough. (The dough should be slightly sticky to the touch, but not so that much comes off on your hands. If it’s too sticky to handle, add ¼ cup flour at a time.)

  • Cover loosely with plastic wrap and kitchen towel. Let rise for 1-3 hours, if possible! I’ve run out of time before and let it rise for only 30-60 mins and it still works, but the longer, the better!

  • Preheat oven to 450°F and put a pizza stone or flipped-over cookie sheet in the oven to heat up.

  • Fill a baking dish with 2 inches of water and place on the bottom rack to create steam for an extra crispy crust.

  • Sprinkle flour on the counter, turn out the dough, fold on itself, divide in half and form it into 2 balls. Don’t knead or handle it more than you need to. Add a little flour if it’s too sticky.

  • Cut an X shape on the top of the balls with a sharp knife.

  • Place on a lightly floured pan, then place on top of the hot pizza stone or cookie sheet.

  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.


*You can bake it right on the hot cookie sheet and it’ll be just fine. Just be careful handling the hot pan while putting your dough on it and in the oven!

Keyword crusty, easy, no-knead

Sounds so good, right? It's such an easy recipe and the bread comes out perfect every time!

Alright, well there you have it! Don't be surprised if our rustic bread becomes the new most-requested recipe by your family and friends… There's just something about homemade bread that brings you all together. Give it a try and let us know how you like it!

Easiest Rustic Bread Recipe EVER | Simple & Delicious! - Shelf Cooking (4)

Looking for more shelf cooking inspiration?

  • We can't get enough of these mini German pancakes!
  • Tired of the same old baked chicken every week? Try out these different recipes to help keep things fresh!
  • Love your leftovers by repurposing them into something new!

Happy baking!

Easiest Rustic Bread Recipe EVER | Simple & Delicious! - Shelf Cooking (2024)


What is the secret to soft homemade bread? ›

Bread Making Tips For Softer Bread
  1. Do Not Over-Knead Your Dough. ...
  2. Ensure Dough is Well Hydrated. ...
  3. Lubricate With Oil. ...
  4. Add Sugar. ...
  5. Add Eggs. ...
  6. Reduce Baking Time. ...
  7. Create Steam in Oven. ...
  8. Add Milk.
Mar 27, 2023

Why is my rustic bread so dense? ›

A “tight crumb” aka small holes in the interior of your bread can be the result of different factors: under-fermenting, over-fermenting, and a lack of gluten development. The most confounding part of sourdough bread baking is that the rise times of recipes are just a suggestion or range.

What are 2 tips to successfully making quick breads? ›

6 Tips for Successful Quick Bread
  1. Tip 1: Follow the Recipe Closely. ...
  2. Tip 2: Don't Overmix the Batter. ...
  3. Tip 3: Use Room Temperature Ingredients. ...
  4. Tip 4: Preheat Your Oven. ...
  5. Tip 5: Don't overbake the bread. ...
  6. Tip 6: Let the bread cool before slicing.
Feb 20, 2024

How do you make bread airy and not dense? ›

Dense or heavy bread can be caused by not kneading the dough enough, not letting the dough rise enough, or using too much flour. To fix this issue: try kneading the dough for longer or allowing it to rise for a longer period. You can also try adding a little more liquid to the dough or using a higher protein flour.

How do bakeries make their bread so soft? ›

There's something magical about the bread you get at your local bakeries - they're always sooo soft and fluffy. Many of these breads, especially packaged ones, are made with a ton of chemical additives such as calcium propionate, amylase, and chlorine dioxide which help keep them soft, light, and fluffy for days.

What do bakeries put in bread to keep it soft? ›

Hydrocolloids can retain moisture in the bread. This is important because moisture plays a crucial role in the freshness and softness of bread. By holding onto water, hydrocolloids help prevent the bread from drying out too quickly, thus maintaining its moistness for longer.

How can I make my bread lighter and fluffy? ›

Potato Flakes or Potato Water

Starch helps the dough by trapping the gas from the yeast in the dough and makes the bubbles stronger. This helps the bread to rise and be lighter and fluffier. If you are boiling potatoes, you can use the unsalted water in place of the water in your bread recipe to help out the yeast.

What is the best flour for bread? ›

While bread flour is the best option, it can sometimes be used if you don't have bread flour. “Check the protein content,” advises Chef Jürgen, since it can vary from brand to brand, and an all-purpose flour that contains protein on the higher end of the range, 12 to 13 percent, will produce a better outcome.

Does letting bread rise longer make it fluffier? ›

Does Rising Bread Affect Its Texture? For a fluffy bread texture, the key is to let the bread rise long enough.

What is the most common mistake when making quick breads? ›

The top mistakes you're making when you bake bread
  1. You're measuring incorrectly. ...
  2. Your yeast is old. ...
  3. You're using low-protein flour. ...
  4. You're using too much flour (or water) ...
  5. Your oven isn't hot enough.
Apr 15, 2020

What is the main thing to avoid when making quick breads? ›

Don't Overmix

When stirring up quick bread recipes, it's important not to overmix the batter once you've added flour. Instead, mix until the liquid and dry ingredients are just combined. And, yes, it's OK to have a few small lumps leftover.

Should you let quick bread batter rest? ›

Quick breads use the chemical leavening agents of baking powder and/or baking soda. Baking powder and baking soda do not require time for rising, so the batter for quick bread is cooked immediately after mixing.

What ingredient makes bread less dense? ›

Bread flour contains a higher percentage of gluten than regular all-purpose flour. Using bread flour will produce taller, less dense loaves. If you use all-purpose flour (which has smaller percentage of gluten than bread flour), your loaves will be flatter and denser. And here is the simple white bread recipe.

Why is my homemade bread so dense and heavy? ›

Too Much Flour

Even if you select the correct flour, if you overdo it your bread will come out heavy and dense. The addition of too excessive flour in the dough is a common error, particularly for those who are new and don't know how it is what bread dough ought to look like.

How to get more air in homemade bread? ›

You might want to allow 60-90 minutes after the dough has been mixed before doing the first one, then perhaps 2-3 more times spaced about an hour apart. So the general plan is to have your dough rising 5-6 hours before baking to allow for a few stretch and fold movements, and to get a good chance of developing.

How do you keep homemade bread soft and moist? ›

  1. The freezer. Yes, the freezer is most often used for long-term food storage, but if you want to keep your freshly-baked bread in its most perfect state, even just for a few days, the freezer is the way to go. ...
  2. A bread box. ...
  3. A plastic bag. ...
  4. A fancy bread bag. ...
  5. A boule bread bag. ...
  6. The counter. ...
  7. The fridge.
Aug 31, 2022

How to make a loaf of bread soft? ›

If your bread is especially hard, brush the outside with water before wrapping it. Then, heat it on the center rack of your oven for about 30 minutes for a whole loaf; or 15 to 20 minutes for a partial loaf, or if you have a long, skinny loaf like a baguette.

Why is my bread so hard after baking? ›

Baking quick breads at too high temperatures can cause a hard outside crust. Most quick breads bake in a moderate oven (350°F to 375°F). Double check your recipe to see the temperature they recommend. Oven thermostats can vary over time, requiring adjustments by the baker or calibration by a professional.


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