This Quick Crusty Bread is everything that you would want in a homemade bread! The golden brown crust is delicious and crispy, and the crumbs are light and airy. Best of all, there is no kneading, and no need for a mixer! Four simple ingredients are briefly combined and left alone over the counter top to mingle for several hours, or overnight, to create a beautiful dough that does not need too much handling! I have previously posted another bread recipe for a very popular Persian flat bread, called Barbari, which is also made with very similar ingredients. Both these breads, though made with very different techniques, and with origins thousands of miles apart, have a very sticky dough and bake with a crispy crust and light porous crumbs.
Bread is an essential part of most non-khoresh (Persian stews over rice) dishes at my house. If you love bread as much as I do, this Quick Crusty Bread recipe is going to become a complementary side for many dishes such as soups, or stews! Whenever you crave some crusty bread to dip in your favorite olive oil on a family lasagna night, or when you want to pile spoonfuls of borani esfenaj on chunks of freshly baked bread for an evening get together, this simple bread with soft texture will come in very handy.
The dough is put together in matter of minutes, then it rests at room temperature for 12-18 hours to rise. I usually make the dough the night before, and it’s ready to be baked the next afternoon in time for dinner; if you want it for breakfast, simply make the dough in the early afternoon. The proofed dough is baked for 30 minutes with high heat in a preheated, covered small Dutch oven. The steam builds up within the thick walls of the pot, and the crust rises and creates a beautiful high dome on this round bread. At this point the crust is crispy but pale, so to achieve the beautiful golden brown color and the light textured crumbs, the bread is baked for an additional 12-18 minutes, without the lid.
I have not met anyone who doesn’t love fresh homemade bread. The heavenly aroma of bread baking in the oven is incredibly inviting and nostalgic. It brings back warm memories of childhood, of easier and more carefree times. There is nothing more comforting or satisfying than to take a beautifully baked bread out of the oven, wait impatiently for it to cool enough not to burn my hand, and then tearing a chunk off to try! A true taste test with this kind of crusty bread is to spread a bit of fresh butter while it’s still warm, watch the butter melt, as you bite into it. The beauty of this Quick Crusty Bread is that, you can be sure that it’s going to be perfect every time without any surprises. I have made this bread several times in the past few weeks and have made some minor changes to the original recipe, and have loved it a little more every time.
The following pictures illustrate some highlights; please follow the printable recipe for the details:
Do not over mix; you only want a sticky dough with no visible dry flour. Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and let it rest at room temperature on the kitchen counter for 12-18 hours. The dough should be well risen with visible air pockets on the surface. Place the covered Dutch oven on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 450 F.
Remove the Quick Crusty Bread from the pot. The crust is a delicious golden brown and the bread is light to touch and hollow sounding. Use a pastry brush to dust off the excess flour from the bottom of the loaf. To achieve the best crumb texture, allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes, or maybe even longer, if you’re able to resist the temptation!! I have to admit, we love the taste of hot bread and sometimes it’s not possible to wait for it to cool completely. You could loosely drape a thin towel over the bread during this cooling period. If you have any bread left at this point, store it in a plastic bag. The crust looses its crispiness once it’s stored in the bag, but you can easily toast it briefly to make it crispy again. So make this bread, fill your kitchen with its heavenly aroma & Enjoy!! I would love for you to make a comment and let me know what you think! Happy Baking my friends.
This recipe has been adapted from here
Preheated 450 F oven
Prep time: 5 min
Rest time for dough: 12-18 hrs
Bake time: 42-48 min
You will need a 3/12-4 Quart size Dutch oven, or a similar heavy pot with a secure lid
- 3 cups bread flour, plus 2 TBSP to dust the bottom of the pot, and your hands (I use Gold Medal brand)
- 1 ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 ½ cups water, room temperature
- Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and combine well with a whisk.
- Make a well in the middle of the flour mix and add the water. Use a heavy spoon to stir and mix the ingredients only for a few minutes. Stop stirring when you have a very sticky dough, without any trace of dry flour. Do not over mix.
- Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and leave it on the kitchen counter for 12-18 hours at room temperature. At the end of this time the dough will be well risen and very sticky.
- Cover the small Dutch oven with the lid and place it on the center rack of the oven and preheat to 450 F.
- Using mittens transfer the heated Dutch oven to a heatproof surface and remove the lid.
- Flour the palms of your hands and sprinkle a little flour on top of the risen dough. Use your floured fingertips to pull the dough away from the sides and bottom of the bowl, and roughly form it into a ball, then gently drop it in the preheated pot.
- Cover the pot and return it back to the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove the lid and continue baking the bread for another 12-18 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
- Remove the bread from the pot and use a pastry brush to dust off the excess flour from the bottom of the bread. At this point the bread sounds hollow and is very light.
- Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes or longer for the best texture.