Basic White Bread Recipe

It's not as hard as you think. Use this Basic White Bread recipe and whip up your first batch of the finest.

Basic White Bread

Once you bake your first batch of homemade bread, there's no going back.

Karen Keb

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Homemade bread making just got a whole lot simpler with this Basic White Bread recipe. Enjoy!

Homemade No-Knead Bread Recipes

Basic White Bread

3 cups bread flour, packed and leveled
1 1⁄4 teaspoons salt
1⁄4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1⁄2 to 13⁄4 cups cool water, divided
Coarse cornmeal for dusting 

Combine all dry ingredients in large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

Add 1 1⁄2 cups water and stir with rubber spatula. Add remaining water (and more) as needed until you have a thoroughly mixed, wet, sticky mass of dough. (The dough will not be like any other bread you’ve made – this will be much wetter and will not form a ball.)

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, for 12 to 18 hours.

After 12 to 18 hours have passed, your dough should be dotted with bubbles and more than doubled in size. (It may also have a strong alcohol smell to it, but don’t mind that, it will burn off in the baking.) Dust wooden cutting board with bread flour and, using your plastic dough scrapers, scrape dough loose from sides of bowl and turn out onto board in one piece. Dough will be loose and sticky, but do not add more flour. Dust top lightly with flour and cover with clean cotton or linen tea towel (terry cloth will stick and leave lint on dough). Let dough rise for another 1 to 2 hours.

About 30 minutes before second rise is complete, place your cast-iron pot (without lid) on rack positioned in lower third of oven (not at the very bottom). Heat oven to 475°F.

Once oven has reached 475°, remove pot using heavy-duty potholders (be very careful at this stage – the pot and oven are extremely hot). Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon coarse cornmeal evenly over bottom of pot.

Uncover dough and, using two plastic dough scrapers, shape dough into a ball by folding it over onto itself a few times. With scrapers, lift dough carefully and let it fall into preheated pot by slowly separating the scrapers. Dust top of dough with coarse cornmeal. Cover pot and bake for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, remove cover from pot and continue baking for additional 15 minutes, or until loaf is browned, but not burned.

Remove pot from oven. With sturdy wooden or metal spatula, pry loaf from pot and transfer to cooling rack. Do not slice bread for minimum of 1 hour – this cooling time completes the process and shouldn’t be overlooked!

owen papke
5/29/2013 2:38:13 AM

I made this bread last weekend and it is great. My "cast iron" pot was a little large so I cut a piece of hard poster board to the size I wanted and paper clipped it together to make a smaller pot and thus a "higher" loaf of bread. It worked great and I look forward to the next loaf where I will try adding some herbs to it as suggested by Libby in her post.

wilma nunemaker
5/28/2013 3:54:47 PM

This sounds wonder, I am going to mix some up right now.Thanks W. Nunemaker

libby myrick
5/10/2013 4:04:00 PM

This is almost the same recipe I use making Crusty Bread. You can add whatever you want to this, But my recipe is just a bit different. It is 3 cups flour, 1/2 tsp. yeast, 1 1/2 tsp. salt. Wisk together and add 1 1/2 cup water. Mix and cover for 12 to 18 hrs. Preheat oven to 450 and then place whatever you are going to bake in into the oven to heat for a half hour. While that is heating flour a board and dump bread dough onto it. Fold over a few times and form a ball and place on a piece of parchment paper an let set while pot is heating. When the pot has heated the thirty min. pick up the parchment paper and drop into pot and cover. Bake 30 min. with lid, remove lid and bake 15 more. Lift out of pot with paper and slide off onto a cooling rack. I use a insert from a old crock pot to bake mine in, Works perfect. You can also use hot water and it will be ready to bake in just a few hours instead of the 12 to 18 hrs. Right now I have some rising that I added rosemary, thyme, italian seasoning, a bit of garlic powder and ground red pepper. Makes a wonderful sandwich bread.

kristin dahlke burgess
11/21/2012 7:22:13 PM

What size cast iron pot do you use?