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Homemade Rustic Bread Recipe

With a crusty outside and a tender inside, this homemade rustic bread recipe produces a fragrant loaf perfect for sandwiches or enjoying with pasta, soup or whatever else you like yeast bread with.

Homemade Rustic Bread Recipe

I used to say that I wasn’t a baker since I don’t find joy in the technical nature of baking. It’s so scientific — how important proportions are to the final result, the way ingredients interact with each other as they transform, etc.

They say baking is best done by measuring your ingredients by weight to ensure precision. You’ll notice that I still don’t — and it works fine for me for now.

But what’s really changed is that I am developing an affinity for baking. Though the science of baking still holds little interest for me, I find doughs fascinating.

Moreover, I love the end results.

Take this loaf of homemade bread, for instance. This is a rustic bread recipe that I’ve used for years. It was originally written for preparing in a bread machine, but I’ve since used it to make by hand — and I liked the results even more than the original. The resulting bread is fragrant and doughy, perfect for buttering while it’s warm.

This is the kind of bread that can stand up to heavier toppings too.

But the dough? It’s so different than other yeast doughs I’ve worked with.

Rustic Bread Loaf Rising

Frankly, as far as doughs go, this one is sloppy, ugly and unruly. It’s loose and wet — and it’s sticky. Hint: use wet hands if you need to mix the last of the flour. That will prevent you from becoming one with the dough.

Trust me on that.

And when you let this dough rise, roll it out and form a log, begins to form a pretty loaf that bakes into a beautiful, crusty one. It isn’t a smooth, perfect loaf, but one with character and nuance.

The whole thing is kind of poetic, really.

Rustic Bread Recipe

Now, really, you should let the bread cool before slicing. But it’s hard to resist the draw of that warm bread just waiting to be buttered, so I won’t tell if you don’t let it cool completely before digging in. Sometimes, you just have to break the rules.

Serve this rustic bread with your favorite soup. Or alongside your Sunday sauce. Or with whatever you love to whip up on weekends.

Rustic Bread
Homemade Rustic Bread Recipe

Homemade Rustic Bread Recipe

Yield: 1 loaf
Prep Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 55 minutes

Ingredients

Dough ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 package dry active yeast
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Glaze ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp warm water
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the water, sugar and salt. Sprinkle with the yeast and let sit for a few minutes until it has all foamed. Stir together. Add the flour all at once and stir to combine. The dough will be sticky, and you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last of the flour into it. Yes, really, wet hands -- this dough will stick like crazy to floured ones.
  2. Transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl and cover. Set in a draft-free warm spot and allow to rise for at least one hour. It should double in size.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured board and roll into a rectangle. Hint: flour the dough and the rolling pin and keep a dough scraper handy. This dough will still be really sticky. Once rolled out, roll the dough into a log along the long side. Taper the ends.
  4. Place the loaf on a greased parchement-lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and set in a warm, draft-free place to rise for at least an hour, or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  6. In a small bowl, stir together the glaze ingredients. Brush all over the loaf. Discard any unused glaze. Using a serrated knife, cut three diagonal slits in the top of the loaf.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.
  8. Let cool before slicing and enjoying
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Caio balderrama

Sunday 24th of May 2020

What is the measure for yeast? One package is very vague... I bought a big package!

Sarah Walker Caron

Sunday 24th of May 2020

@Caio balderrama, Yes, I can see how it could be if you are buying in bulk. The measurement of 1 package is equal to 2 1/4 teaspoons, and refers to the single portion packages (usually) available at grocery stores. In this time of yeast shortage, folks are buying yeast in non-single serve jars and bags as available, for sure.

Bill Bauer

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

Sarah, do you think this recipe could be made with whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour? If so, what alterations , if any, would be necessary?

Sarah Walker Caron

Sunday 23rd of February 2020

Hi Bill, I wouldn't substitute all the flour for whole wheat flour because will make the loaf much denser. I would suggest instead subbing half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat (and keep them remaining flour all-purpose). This will ensure the loaf has a light, airy texture while also gaining the flavor and benefits of whole wheat. Hope that helps!

Luisa

Sunday 26th of January 2020

I did this bread today it’s amazing love it ❤️ I couldn’t wait to eat ! Thank you for the easy Recipe!

Sarah Walker Caron

Monday 27th of January 2020

Thank you so much!

Susan

Thursday 21st of November 2019

Can you use instant yeast?

Sarah Walker Caron

Saturday 23rd of November 2019

Hi Susan, unfortunately, I have never tested this recipe with instant yeast, which would alter the method for making this (and may not yield the same results). So I can't say for certain. Best, Sarah

artcy

Thursday 6th of October 2016

probably mean "double in size" rather than dough in size

Sarah Walker Caron

Thursday 6th of October 2016

Thanks for the catch! All fixed. Have a great day!