This 4 ingredient no-knead artisan bread is sure to become a family favorite. It’s so easy to make, it’s practically fool-proof!
While it is fool proof, it is sure to make you look like a pro! It just looks so pretty doesn’t it?! Try pairing this crusty loaf of deliciousness with Homemade Tomato Soup, Instant Pot Spaghetti, or Perfect Pot Roast.
Just 4 Ingredients!
Making bread at home always seems like a daunting task. It’s a huge investment of time & energy, which usually pays off in the end unless something goes awry during the process. That’s why I’m sharing this super EASY and EFFORTLESS no-knead extra crusty artisan bread.
What is artisan bread? Artisan bread is a short shelf-life bread that has a longer fermentation period than that of typical bread and rolls.
It’s so simple my 3 year old can do it! The best part about this fool-proof recipe is that it requires only 4 ingredients and I bet you already have them in your pantry!
If you’ve been following the blog for a while now, this recipe may look familiar. That’s because it’s almost identical to my favorite pizza dough. Who would have thought?! All-purpose flour, kosher sea salt, active dry yeast and warm water are all you need (unless of course you want to get fancy, see NOTES below).
How to Make Artisan Bread
The recipe below says it only takes 1 hour to make, but that’s just the “hands-on” time. The dough itself needs 18 hours to rise (and ferment), so please be aware of that!
MIX. Whisk the flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooded spoon, gradually add the water, stir until incorporated. Mix the dough gently and form into a rough ball.
PROOF. Transfer to a large clean (ungreased) bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft-free area at room temperature. When the dough has doubled in size and is covered in bubbles, you know it’s ready to go. Sometimes this process can take up to 24 hours, especially if its winter and your house is really cold, however, in the summer it can take as little as 12 hours.
PREP. When the dough is ready, place a Dutch oven (with the lid on) into the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. Allow it to heat in the oven for 30 minutes.
FORM LOAF. Meanwhile, transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Take the corners and fold under, creating a ball. Place it on a large square of parchment paper (big enough to cover the bottom of your Dutch oven), then dust the dough with flour, cover with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife (FYI: I don’t let my toddler do this part ☺️), at a 90 degree angle, score an X in the top of the loaf.
**Tip**: Each score mark should be about 2 ½ inches long and about 1/4″ deep. Scoring the loaf will help prevent unwanted cracks and will help the loaf rise up instead of expand out. Then, using a mister, spray bottle, clean toothbrush or pastry brush, lightly mist (or brush) the top of the bread with water. You don’t want to drench the dough, just give it a nice kiss of moisture. This little trick will help create a nice crust.
BAKE. Carefully remove Dutch oven from the hot oven. Place the shaped dough into it, cover and return it to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 8-15 minutes or until the top is nice and dark (but not burnt).
COOL. Remove it from the oven and transfer the loaf bread to a cooling rack. If you want extra crusty bread, you can open the oven (after it has been turned off) and allow the loaf to cool on the rack inside. This process, much like cooling a cheesecake, will allow leftover moisture inside to rise to the surface and evaporate. Give it a good 30 minutes before slicing into it!
Substitutions and Serving Suggestions
Use a flour alternative: If you want to use whole wheat flour to make this healthier I suggest using ½ white and ½ whole wheat. This way you don’t risk the bread becoming too dry, especially since artisan bread is known as a type of bread with a very moist crumb.
Gluten-free flour doesn’t give the bread the rise it needs, so this may not be the best recipe to use gluten-free flour for.
Add greek yogurt: Some recipes for artisan bread include greek yogurt. By including the yogurt you are making “cheater’s sourdough”. This gives it the sourdough taste without going through the process of making a true sourdough bread. Try starting with about ¼ cup of plain greek yogurt.
What to eat with this bread? This is a great side to pasta dishes. Try these recipes:
- Kale, Spinach, and Basil Pesto baked pasta
- Best Ever Baked Ziti
- Quick & Easy Garlic Butter Noodles
- Instant Pot Spaghetti
- Chicken tetrazzini
Storing and Freezing Artisan Bread
Storing Bread: Keep the bread at room temperature and not in the fridge. The cold fridge air will dry the bread out quickly.
If you would like your bread to have a softer crust, you should store your bread in a plastic bag and if you want a crispier crust you should store your bread in a paper bag. Think of how the grocery store typically stores their “crusty” bread.
Freezing Bread: To freeze this bread you need to wrap the bread in plastic wrap and foil before placing in a freezer safe ziploc bag. It is recommended for hard crust breads, like this artisan bread, that you double wrap it so that the crust doesn’t accidentally cut through its covering and get freezer burn.
Storing Dough: Once the dough has risen and is at the point of being ready to be baked it isn’t suggested that you store it for any longer. At this point you decrease the chance of producing fluffy delicious bread and rather produce gummy and sour bread, which is not a great option.
A Note About Dutch Ovens
I noticed that the outside of my Dutch oven got pretty speckled after baking this bread (it had a few stains from other recipes as well) and it didn’t look very pretty anymore.
How to Clean: The cheapest and most effective cleaning solution I’ve found is a nylon pot scrubber and a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Generously apply the paste to trouble areas and scrub away. You’ll need to put a little elbow grease into it, especially where grease has been baked on, but it should all come off!
This bread has quickly become a staple in our home. It can be easily customized and makes a great gift for holidays or special occasions. I hope my tips and tricks will inspire you to make a loaf of your own. You’ve totally got this!
For more bread recipes, try:
No-Knead Artisan Bread Recipe
- 3 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1 ½ - 2 tsp kosher sea salt
- 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cup warm water
- Whisk the flour, salt and yeast in a medium bowl. While stirring with a wooded spoon, gradually add the water, stir until incorporated. Mix the dough gently and form into a rough ball.
- Transfer to a large clean (ungreased) bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a draft-free area at room temperature until surface of dough is covered with tiny bubbles and the dough has more than doubled in size (This usually takes about 18 hours or so, however, it still turns out great with just 12 hours of rise time).
- When the dough is ready, place a Dutch oven into the oven and turn it on to 450 degrees. Allow it to heat in the oven for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, transfer the dough to a well-floured surface. Take the corners and fold under, creating a ball. Place on a large square of parchment paper (big enough to cover the bottom of your Dutch oven). Dust dough with flour, cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. Using a sharp knife, at a 90 degree angle, score an X in the top of the loaf. Each score mark should be about 2 ½ inches long and about 1/4" deep. Using a mister, spray bottle, clean toothbrush or pastry brush, lightly mist (or brush) the top of the bread with water.
- Carefully remove Dutch oven from the oven. Place the shaped dough into it, cover and return to the oven to bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 8-15 minutes or until the top is nice and dark (but not burnt). Remove from the oven and transfer the loaf bread to a cooling rack (SEE NOTES). Allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
- If you don't have a Dutch Oven, you can use the insert of a crock-pot (and the lid) or any deep enameled stoneware you might have (like a round baker or casserole dish), just cover it with foil.
- You can easily add whatever mix-in you like. We've tried, herbs & garlic, dried fruit & chopped toasted nuts, and even cheese! Just add them in step 1. I like to adjust the salt according to my mix-ins.
- PLEASE USE COARSE KOSHER SEA SALT, not table salt!!
- For really crunchy loaf, allow the loaf to "cool" for 30 minutes on the rack of a partially open (and OFF) oven, just like you would a cheesecake. Remove & slice!