Perfectly sliced dutch oven bread
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Quick Crusty Dutch Oven Bread – The Best Bread Recipe

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For some people (aka my wife), bread is everything. I enjoy bread but mostly see it as a vehicle for other foods and flavors. Especially most of the more bland store-bought breads out there. One great way to elevate bread is to make it yourself. So, here’s my best quick crusty bread recipe for making at home in a dutch oven.

I’ll admit that quick is a relative term. This is still bread. And it does take time for tasty results. But this has become my go-to bread recipe.

Close-up of golden crust on homemade Dutch oven bread baking

The smell of this bread alone is enough to keep you coming back for more – not to mention its delightful taste and texture. This loaf is a drastic difference in flavor and texture from my brown Irish soda bread from a few years ago.

The secret is using a Dutch oven to trap in moisture and provide the hot, steamy environment needed to develop that crackly, golden crust. This crusty Dutch oven bread is my new gold-standard bread recipe – soft with a delightful chew inside yet crusty outside.

Making this crusty bread recipe consists of just a few simple steps and some time waiting for it to rise.

Dutch Oven Bread Ingredients

Let’s get our essentials together for this scrumptious crusty bread recipe. We’ll need yeast for the perfect rise, plus water and sugar to activate it. Don’t forget the salt for a flavor boost, and a good quality olive oil to give our creation a rich, moist crumb. Finally, we’ll need flour – the backbone of our bread. Let’s dive in and transform these humble ingredients into something truly tasty.

Ingredients for homemade Dutch oven bread recipe including flour, water, yeast, olive oil, sugar, and salt


Most breads use yeast as a leavening agent. It gives bread the bubbles and rise.

We’re using active dry yeast for our bread, and it’s important to note that it needs to be activated before use. In simpler words, you need to wake it up from its dormant state. Don’t worry, it’s not complicated. All it takes is a little warm water and voila – it’s ready to work its magic!


Granulated white sugar is our little secret for adding an unassuming sweetness that complements the savory notes of the bread. It’s not just about the sweet flavor though, it will also affect the final texture and have a little bit of a preservative effect.

If you are truly trying to cut sugar out of your diet altogether, you can omit the sugar without huge changes to the loaf.


Water is a simple and necessary ingredient in all homemade dutch oven bread recipes. You don’t need any fancy kind of water, you just need to focus on its temperature.

It’s all about activating the yeast and helping the bread rise properly.

Too hot and you’ll kill the yeast, too cold and it won’t wake up. It can seem daunting. But don’t worry, there’s a fairly wide band of temperatures that work well for this. Aim for water around 105-115°F (45-46°C). Warm to the touch, but comfortable and not hot. Yeast begins to die off at around 120°F and will basically all be dead by 140°F. But those water temperatures are truly hot. Use an instant-read thermometer if you’re really nervous about getting temperatures right.


Salt enhances flavor.

I typically use kosher salt for bread-making. It is usually helpful to use the same kind of salt for consistency. But, we’re also doing this dutch oven bread baking by weight rather than volume. So, in the end, most any salt should work when baking this way.

Olive Oil

I’m partial to extra virgin olive oil for this recipe. My main reason for including it here is for a bit of added flavor. It’s got a lovely flavour that’ll subtly infuse your bread.

The oil helps to create that delectable, tender crumb we all adore in artisan-style breads. It does slightly impede the formation of gluten, but I think the trade-off is worth it. A little goes a long way, so it’s a relatively small amount.


The main substance of bread – flour. The choice of flour can affect the texture and flavor of your bread. For our crusty bread recipe, I suggest using bread flour. Now, you might be wondering why bread flour?

It’s higher in protein than all-purpose flour. The protein found in flour is responsible for creating gluten in your dough. So bread flour results in more gluten formation. This increased gluten leads to a dough that is more robust and elastic, essential for achieving a lofty and light bread loaf. It absorbs slightly more water too, making this higher-hydration dough a bit easier to work with.

However, if you don’t have bread flour on hand you can substitute all-purpose flour. You may need to add a little more all-purpose flour.

Mix the Crusty Bread Dough

Now, let’s move on to making the initial dough. Activate the yeast. It’s a simple step, but crucial for a good rise. Next, we’ll combine the activated yeast with our other ingredients to form a shaggy dough. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, it’s supposed to look a bit rough around the edges!

Yeast activating to make our quick crusty bread recipe

Activate the Yeast

Grab your yeast and 100 grams of warm water. The warmth is essential here; it’s like a cozy blanket that helps our yeast feel safe and ready to grow. Mix them together and let them sit for about 10 minutes.

Watch as the yeast comes to life right before your eyes, bubbling up and creating a frothy top layer. It’s fascinating, isn’t it? This activation process is crucial as it’s the yeast that’ll give our bread its beautiful rise and fluffy texture. Keep in mind that the yeast should be frothy after 10 minutes; if it’s not, your yeast may be too old, and you’ll need to grab a fresh packet.

Mix the dough until there are no pockets of dry flour to be found

Combine into Shaggy Dough

It’s time to get messy!

Once the yeast has started bubbling up, it’s ready to go. Add in all of the remaining ingredients. Then, start mixing until everything comes together. You’re looking for a shaggy, fairly sticky dough. Don’t be alarmed if it doesn’t look perfect – it’s not supposed to at this stage!

Now, the important thing to remember here is not to over-mix. You’re not aiming for a smooth dough but rather a shaggy, rough one. At this stage, it will not be a smooth dough. It will also be a bit sticky still and not the easiest to work with, but trust me it is worth it.

How to Treat the Dough

Cover the Dough in a Bowl

With the dough initially mixed, we’re now gonna cover it up. Leave the dough in the bowl you mixed it in. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel. You may also use plastic wrap to cover the dough.

Covering the dough prevents it from drying out and keeps any unwanted particles from settling on it. It’s like tucking it in for a little nap, ensuring it stays safe and cozy. Let it rest, covered, in a warm area for an initial 15 minutes. This is the start of its rise.

Steps to perform a set of stretch and folds - grabbing the dough, pulling up, bringing it over and down, and then rotating and repeating
These are the general steps of the stretch and fold process, repeated for each side

Stretch and Fold

We’re now stepping into the stretch and fold technique. I can’t stress enough how crucial this step is.

Here’s what you’ll do: After your dough has rested for 15 minutes, uncover it and gently grab one side. Then, stretch it upwards, fold it over itself towards the center of the dough, and place it down on top of itself. Rotate your bowl 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and repeat. Then repeat two more times until you’ve done this for all four sides of your dough.

Why do this, you may ask? This technique helps develop the gluten structure in your dough without the need for heavy kneading. Through some sciency magic, the gluten is strengthened with this process. This will help ensure the loaf rises up in the oven rather than just spreading out and staying flat. Better gluten structure means more gasses are trapped as bubbles in the bread.

After your first stretch and fold session, let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Repeat this process, wait another 30 minutes, and repeat it again. You will have done 3 full sets of stretch and folds.

Proper gluten formation allows the dough to rise and trap bubbles from the yeast

Let it Rise

This is where the magic truly happens. Where your dough transforms from a simple mixture to potential bread. You’ve covered your dough, you’ve given good stretches and folds, and now, it’s time for it to rest and rise.

Keep it covered snugly for about an hour and 45 minutes. During this time, the yeast is working its magic, creating gas bubbles that will give your bread its deliciously light and airy texture.

Remember, patience is key here. So, kick back, relax, and let your dough rise. Trust me, the waiting will be worth it when you see the final product.

Shape the Dough

Once we’ve got our dough, it’s time to give it shape. We’ll turn it into a round loaf (don’t worry, it’s not hard!) and then let it sit in a banneton. This is a special kind of basket – a regular bowl can work in a pinch. After that, we’re gonna let it rise again. This is a crucial step, so don’t rush it. It’s all part of the magic of making your own homemade dutch oven bread.

Shaping the loaf for dutch oven bread baking by pushing a bench scraper under one side of the dough into my hand on the other side

Shape into a Round Loaf

The dough is risen, with a nice airy texture. So now we need to turn it out, shape it, and let it rise again. Try to be as gentle as possible in the next steps, we don’t want to deflate all that lovely air we’ve worked so hard to incorporate.

First, turn your dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Now, use a bench scraper (if you don’t have one, use your flattest spatula) to push the bottom edges of the dough toward the center, rotating as you go. Keep going around and around until you’ve got a nice, round ball.

See my gif above for an example. You can see that the dough is fairly elastic and bounces back, so it takes a little bit of coaxing to help it keep its shape. You’re almost stretching the top down and underneath to make the top kind of taut.

My dough placed into a banneton for a second rise, after shaping it into a boule

Place in Banneton

With the dough shaped, it’s time to introduce your dough to a new cozy home – the banneton.

A banneton is a special basket used in bread baking, admired for its ability to give the bread a gorgeous pattern. It’s not just for show, it also helps your dough maintain its shape during the final proofing stage. You can also use a bowl with a lightly floured towel. Note that some people like to use rice flour for dusting for better non-stick properties.

Gently pick the dough up using the bench scraper and place your dough into the banneton with the seam side up. Cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap.

Rise Again

Shaping the dough – no matter how gentle you are – does beat it up a little. So it needs a little more time to rise again.

During this final rising stage, you’ll want to keep your dough in a warm spot. Give it 35 minutes to rise again. It should look nice and puffy when this step is done.

Preheat the Dutch Oven

While the dough is rising, it’s time to turn on the heat and get things ready to bake. We’ll put the whole dutch oven into the oven so that it can heat up and be ready to go. The heat that builds up within the Dutch oven will create a fantastic environment for your dough to bake.

Use a round 5 and 1/2 quart dutch oven. I use an enameled Le Creuset dutch oven but you can do this in any dutch oven you have available that fits the large loaf.

Place your dutch oven, with its lid on, into your oven. Crank up the heat to 450°F (232°C) and let it sit there, accumulating heat. I usually do this as soon as I have set the dough aside to rise again. But the time it takes will depend on your oven, so if it usually takes longer or heats up quickly you can adjust as needed.

You want your dutch oven to be piping hot to get the best results. So, give it time. Let it preheat completely while your dough rises. Using the dutch oven with its lid on allows a lot of moisture to build up inside as it bakes. Then we can take the lid off and let the crust fully form.

Bake the Dutch Oven Bread

Finally on to baking this crusty bread recipe we’ve worked so hard to make. Let’s score the dough – a very importan step, trust me. Next, place the dough in our preheated dutch oven, cover it with a lid, and let the magic happen. After a while, we’ll lose the lid and let it bake a bit more. Finally, the hardest part – waiting for it to cool. Patience is key here, guys.

Scoring the top of the bread dough before placing it in the preheated Dutch oven

Prepare and Score the Dough

With the dough risen again and the oven preheated, it’s time to bake. Now it’s all about scoring the dough, which in bread-making terms, means making shallow cuts on the surface of the dough. The cuts can be fancy or complicated but they don’t need to be. Simple works.

Scoring is essential in baking bread to create controlled weak points in the dough where steam can escape. Without scoring, steam may burst through the crust unpredictably. This can cause strange shapes in the final loaf. Scoring guides the dough’s rise in the oven, helping it maintain its shape and maximize oven spring.

So, transfer your risen dough onto a sheet of parchment paper or a round silicone baking mat (what I prefer). Use a bread lame or a sharp knife and make a few shallow cuts on the top of the dough. You can do a simple X or a more elaborate pattern. Don’t worry, there’s no right or wrong way to do this. It’s your bread and you can design it how you want. Here’s a website with some better ideas on dough scoring patterns.

Making the easy dutch oven bread by placing the scored dough into the hot dutch

Placing and Baking the Easy Dutch Oven Bread

Now it’s time to get the dough into the oven. Carefully, lift your prepared and scored dough using the parchment paper or silicone mat and gently place it into the hot dutch oven. The parchment paper or silicone mat will go right in with the dough and stay there the whole time as it bakes.

Cover the dutch oven with its lid. This will help to trap the steam inside, providing a moist and warm atmosphere that’s just perfect for baking bread. Bake it like this for 30 minutes. You’ll start to smell the heavenly aroma of baking bread filling your kitchen, but resist the temptation to peek! It’s important to keep that lid on to ensure the bread cooks just right. We’ll uncover in the next step, but for now, we wait.

Mid-way through baking, remove the lid to let the crust fully form

Remove Lid and Continue Baking

After 30 delightful minutes of baking, we’re ready to remove the lid from the dutch oven. Now that the steam has finished doing its part, allowing it to escape will let your bread reach that lovely golden hue we’re aiming for.

We’re going to let the bread continue to bake for another 10-15 minutes. Keep a watchful eye on it, because we want to achieve that perfect balance of crispiness on the outside and soft, fluffy goodness on the inside. This is the part where your kitchen starts to smell like a dreamy bakery, which is always a bonus!

Just remove the bread once the outside has achieved the perfect golden-brown color.

Freshly baked quick and easy dutch oven bread cooling on a wire rack

Cool the Homemade Dutch Oven Bread

The final, yet crucial stage of our baking adventure is the cooling process. I know, you must be eager to slice into your own homemade dutch oven bread, but be patient, my friend.

Carefully lift your baked beauty out of the dutch oven and place it on a wire cooling rack. Now comes the tough part – waiting. Letting the bread cool down is essential for its texture and flavor.

I’d recommend waiting at least 30 minutes, but if you can manage to resist for an hour, it’s better. I know it’s difficult, but trust me, it’s worth the wait. It’s like giving your bread a well-deserved rest after its hot bath. So, sit back, relax, and anticipate the moment when you finally get to enjoy your labor of love.

Ways to Use this Crusty Bread Recipe

Now that we’ve mastered the art of baking our delightful homemade dutch oven bread, let’s explore some delicious ways we can put it to good use. You’ll be surprised at how versatile this loaf can be!

This crusty bread recipe is perfect for sandwiches. From a humble grilled cheese to a turkey bacon avocado to a chicken salad sandwich, this bread can handle it all. You can use it as a base for an array of mouth-watering appetizers. A simple bruschetta or an olive oil and herb dip really let the flavor and texture of the bread shine through.

Enjoying the warm crusty bread recipe with some seasoned olive oil dip

And if you’re a soup lover like me, you’ll absolutely adore using this bread as a soup accompaniment. Its firm texture is perfect for dipping and it adds a delightful crunch. You could even try making two smaller loaves with this recipe and turning the bread into a bread bowl for soup. Try it with the following:

This quick and easy dutch oven bread is not as intimidating as you may think, and the result is always worth the effort. You’ll be amazed by the heavenly aroma filling your kitchen and the satisfaction of biting into a warm, crusty piece of bread you’ve made yourself. Happy baking!

How did yours turn out?

I’d love to hear when you try out this quick crusty dutch oven bread recipe! Take a pic of your food and share your success with me by adding it to your Instagram stories or feed, and tagging me @doyouroux, or by using #doyouroux.

Plus, leave a rating to let me know how you liked the recipe. It helps me out a lot to know how things worked out… or didn’t.

Quick Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

Recipe by Marc PetersonCourse: BreadDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Rise Time






Cooling Time


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Make crispy dutch oven bread at home with a chewy interior and golden crust. Enjoy a simple crusty bread recipe that’s perfect for any baker.


  • 7 grams active dry yeast

  • 450 grams warm water, divided

  • 25 grams olive oil

  • 15 grams kosher salt

  • 10 grams sugar

  • 485 grams bread flour, plus more for dusting


  • Mix together the yeast and 100 grams of warm water in a large bowl and let sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast has activated and looks foamy
  • Add in the remaining water, olive oil, salt, sugar, and flour and mix it all to form a loose, shaggy dough
  • Leave the dough in the bowl, cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes
  • Perform one set of stretch and folds by gently grabbing one side of the dough then stretching it upwards, folding it over itself towards the center of the dough, and placing it down on top of itself. Rotate your bowl 90 degrees (a quarter turn) and repeat. Then repeat two more times until you’ve done this for all four sides of your dough. This is one set of stretch and folds.
  • Cover the dough and let it sit for 30 minutes and perform another set of stretch and folds, cover it again and wait 30 minutes to repeat stretch and folds again (all-in-all you will have done three sets of stretch and folds)
  • Let the dough rise, covered, for an hour and 45 minutes
  • Once the dough has risen, transfer it to a well-floured surface and use a bench scraper to push the dough under itself while rotating to give it a round shape with a taut dome
  • Gently put the shaped dough into a banneton or a lightly floured bowl, cover it with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 35 minutes
  • While it rises, place a 5 1/2 quart dutch oven with its lid in the oven and preheat to 450°F (232°C)
  • Once the dough is risen and the oven is preheated, turn the dough out from the bowl onto a silicon baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper
  • Score the top of the bread (dust the top with flour before scoring for even more contrast)
  • With hot pads, remove the lid from the dutch oven and carefully place the scored dough into the hot pot with the silicone mat or parchment paper
  • Replace the lid and let it bake for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking for 10-15 more minutes until golden brown
  • Remove the loaf from the dutch oven to a cooling rack and let it rest for at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour or more) before slicing

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