4 Ingredient Easy Bread Recipe

This easy bread recipe produces a beautiful rustic loaf that is nice and crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Follow my simple video tutorial to find out how to make this 4 ingredient easy bread recipe! 

Easy Bread Recipe, Rustic Yeast Bread | Baker Bettie

Hello and welcome back to my baking with yeast series. Yesterday I kicked things off with a little informational post, Baking with Yeast 101. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it might be good to do so if you are uncomfortable with baking with yeast or even if you never have done it!

What I’m hoping for in this series is to ease you into baking with yeast so that you become confident enough to try more difficult recipes!

I want to start today with this super easy rustic bread. There really isn’t much to it. At it’s core, there are 4 ingredients: yeast, water, flour salt. That’s it. This type of bread is what we refer to as a lean bread which means there is no addition of fat into the actual dough. Lean breads become crusty on the outside when baked and are bit more chewy on the inside than breads that have the addition of fat which makes them more soft.

We will get to those breads that have some fat in them (ahem, cinnamon rolls) in this series, but lean breads are the best place to start in my opinion because they require the fewest ingredient.

I have had a lot of requests for baking tutorial videos with my posts. But I have had difficulty finding the time to shoot a video and I am not great in front of a camera so I tried something different today. I did a really quick rough video you can find at the end of the post of me making this bread so you can get a sense of what it looks like.

I would really love to hear what you think of it. If it is something you all find helpful I will continue to do them and hopefully make them a little better as I get more experience with it.

Easy Bread Recipe, Rustic Yeast Bread | Baker Bettie

Basic Process of Making a Lean Bread from Dry Yeast

1. Re-hydrate your yeast: Dry yeast has been processed in a way that removes all of the moisture from it which puts the yeast into a dormant state. In order to wake the yeast cells up so that they can begin feeding, you need to re-hydrate them. In lean bread the liquid used is warm water. Yeast love warm temperatures. you want your water to be about 105F- 110F. Consider that your body temperature is 98.6F, so you want water that is slightly warmer than body temperature.

Make sure that your water is not too hot! Starting at 120F, yeast will begin to die. You can use a cooking thermometer to check your water temperature if you are nervous about killing your yeast. The water will begin to get murky as the yeast wake up.

Easy Bread Recipe, Rustic Yeast Bread | Baker Bettie

2. Add your flour and salt (and other ingredients if using): Flour and salt and the only two other ingredients needed to make a lovely lean yeast bread. As I mentioned in my Baking with Yeast 101 post, salt can kill yeast in high ratios. I always recommend adding in your flour before your salt so that the ratio is diluted.

The salt will flavor your bread, but also keep the fermentation under control while your bread rises. I love to add in fresh herbs and garlic when making rustic breads, but these thing are absolutely optional.

3. Knead the bread (usually) and let it rise: Most all bread recipes call for some amount of time of kneading. Yes, there are no-knead recipes out there. In fact, I have one on my site that is one of my most popular recipes. But the process of kneading helps develop flavor, texture, and, color in the bread.

I also think that a beginning yeast bread baker should get their hands in there and feel the dough. It really does help you understand how gluten strands develop as you knead and I think it makes the whole process a lot more fun!

After the dough is kneaded it rests and rises. The yeast feeds on the starches in the flour and begins producing carbon dioxide which is what makes the bread rise.

Easy Bread Recipe, Rustic Yeast Bread | Baker Bettie

4. Dough is shaped, allowed to rise again, and baked: After the dough is shaped it is typically given time to rise again before going into the oven. Remember, yeast begins to die at 120F. Once the dough goes into the oven the yeast will rapidly give off some gas and will rise the dough a bit, but most of the rising is done before the dough goes into the oven.

That’s it! It really is pretty simple once you get in there and do it a time or two. Check out the video to see the whole process from start to finish (very sped up!) and let me know if that is helpful! And please ask me any questions you have about the basics of baking with yeast! I would love to address them!

4 Ingredient Bread

This easy bread recipe produces a beautiful rustic loaf that is nice and crusty on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Follow along with my simple video tutorial for step-by-step instructions. 

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  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast or instant yeast (2 1/4 tsp if measuring from bulk yeast)
  • 1 1/3 cup warm water (water temp should be warm but not hot, about 105-110F)
  • 4 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (18.4 ounces or 520 grams)
  • 1 TBSP kosher salt
  • oil for greasing the bowl

Optional Add-Ins

1 TBSP fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced (optional)



  1. In a large bowl, add your dry yeast and stir in your warm water. Let sit for about 2 minutes.
  2. Add in all of the flour and then the salt. If using, also add in the rosemary and garlic. Stir together until it forms a ball.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a clean work surface for about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. In a clean bowl, add about 1 TBSP of oil of your choice (canola, vegetable, olive, etc…) or spray the bowl with cooking spray. Put your dough into the bowl and turn it over to coat both sides with oil.
  5. Cover the bowl with a towel and put in a warm place to rise. I like to put mine in my oven that is off. Allow to rise for about 1 hour, or until double in size.
  6. Gently push the air out of the dough with your fist. Lightly oil a cast iron skillet (I use a 10″ skillet, but an 8″ or 12″ will also work. See notes) or other oven proof skillet. Place the bread dough into the oiled skillet and dust the top of the dough lightly with flour. Cover with a towel again and let rise for another hour or until doubled in size.
  7. Preheat your oven to 425F.
  8. Once the dough is doubled in size, slash the top of the dough a few times with a sharp knife.
  9. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the bread is a deep golden brown and sounds hollow if you thumb the top.

Recipe Notes:

I use a 10″ skillet for this recipe. You may also use an 8″ or 12″ skillet. Bread baked in an 8″ skillet will result in a taller bread and will likely take a few extra minutes to bake. Bread baked in a 12″ skillet will result in a wider and shorter loaf and will likely be done a few minutes quicker.

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19 comments on “4 Ingredient Easy Bread Recipe”

  1. This looks so good, I am going to make it tomorrow. Never thought of making bread in a cast iron skillet!
  2. mmmm this bread is perfect!!!! and I think the rustic-ness is pretty :)
  3. I love making breads, would like the recipee for Italian bread. Could not see your video, but your directions are great.
  4. I tried this and my dough was so hard, I could barely knead it. Also, it never rised any during the hours of sitting. Any idea what I possibly did wrong?
  5. Can I use bread flour in place of the AP flour? If so, does the amount of flour change? Thank you!
  6. Literally the single best bread I have ever made. I used yeast flour, so deff feel the dough for if it's wet enough, but amazing

    Rating: 5
  7. Bread flour I mean
  8. Hi Baker Bettie! I enjoyed this post. I also think the video at the end is very helpful.
  9. Wow!! Just made it. Eating it now with butter. It came out flawlessly! It's freezing cold outside here, but we proofed it in the microwave with the light on and a towel over it. I was even a bit short on flour but it was perfect with just four cups of flour! Baked for 38 minutes.

    Rating: 5
  10. Hi there! I just tried this and my dough was also hard like a previous poster had stated. What could have gone wrong? I was barely able to knead it and the ball wasn’t uniform. 
    • Hi Val! It sounds like you must have had too much flour in your dough! Make sure that you measure it properly by lightly spooning it into your measuring cup, without packing it down, and level it off. If you are sure this is the way you measured it, you can start with 3 1/2 cups of flour and add more a little at a time until you get the right consistency!
  11. After a few failed tries with other recipes, I came across this wonderfully simple bread. Made it today... and it was FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!! I CAN MAKE BREAD NOW!!!! Great crust, delectable crumb and best of all, I can make it any time I want! Thanks so much!

    Rating: 5
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