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Crusty Round Bread Recipe for a Bread Machine

This recipe for Crusty Round Bread utilizes a two-step process that slowly develops a delicious yeasty flavor. The result is a chewy texture with a close crumb.

The recipe is written for a bread machine but you can also make it in a stand mixer or by hand. (See recipe notes.)

CRUSTY ROUND BREAD (MADE IN A BREAD MACHINE)

An unexpected, unscheduled day at home is a gift straight from heaven. (Literally, if it’s caused by snow or ice.)  I get so excited contemplating possible projects while still lying in bed that there’s no sleeping in late.

When one such day happened recently, I took the opportunity to make one of my youngest son’s favorite loaves of bread. I think you’ll like it, too.

What makes this bread especially tasty?

The yeast is allowed to develop slowly resulting in superb flavor, chewy texture, and a tight crumb. 

Begin by making a “sponge,” also referred to as a biga. 

“Sponge” sounds kinda gross but this mixture does look like a sponge after it rests for several hours. See the picture below.

sponge mixture

After the sponge has developed for 6-8 hours, add the remainder of the flour, water, and salt to make the dough. 

Do I have to use a bread machine to make this recipe?

I do it all in a bread machine, although it can certainly be made by hand or with a stand mixer if you don’t have a machine. With that in mind, I posted those directions in the notes of the recipe.

Try making this bread the next time you find yourself with several hours at home.  Yes, it requires a little more time than most homemade bread, but it’s not so much hands-on time.

Rather, it’s the kind of time where you need to hang around just to keep an eye on things. Your reward for patience is a bread with better flavor that remains fresher longer.

slices of crusty round bread with olive oil for dipping

Please note: You won’t get big holes and spider web texture with this recipe. It’s not that kind of bread. If that’s what you’re after, check out my Ciabatta Bread.

How to form Crusty Round Bread

showing how to form crusty round bread
Form the dough into a smooth ball. Slash with a razor blade. A sharp single-edge razor blade is the secret to this look.

Pin the picture below to save for later.

pinterest image for crusty round bread


If you make this recipe and enjoy it, consider helping other readers and me by returning to this post. Leave a rating on the recipe card itself underneath the picture. Although always appreciated, comments aren’t required. Thank you for visiting! Paula

Crusty Round Bread Recipe for a Bread Machine

Crusty Round Bread Recipe for a Bread Machine

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 19 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 19 hours 30 minutes

Crusty Round Bread (made in a bread machine); Two-step process slowly develops yeasty flavor resulting in a chewy texture with a close crumb.

Ingredients

Sponge:

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1 teaspoon instant or bread machine yeast
  • 1 cup water

Dough:

  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour

Instructions

Making the Sponge:

  1. Place water, yeast and flour in bread machine pan and select the "dough" cycle. Allow to mix about 5 minutes using small spatula to carefully push flour stuck in the corners into the mixing area. Unplug machine and let stand at room temperature over night or about 8 hours. Do not leave over 16 hours.

Making the Dough

  1. Open lid of bread machine and add water, sugar, salt, and flour.
  2. Restart dough cycle. Check dough after 5-10 minutes of mixing. If necessary, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time to form a smooth but slightly tacky ball or water if dough is too dry and bounces against the sides.
  3. When dough cycle ends, allow dough to continue to rise in machine for at least 30 minutes (or more if ambient temperature is cool) until double in size. If you are new to bread machines, see Six Bread Machine Tips for Beginners for more help with this step.

Preparing and Baking the Loaf

  1. Remove dough from bread machine pan to lightly floured board or silicone baking mat (my preference). Form into smooth ball by pulling dough around to bottom until top is smooth. Place on parchment-covered cookie sheet. Cover loosely with lightly oiled plastic wrap and place in warm place to rise until almost double.
  2. About 15 minutes before bread is ready to bake, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Just before putting bread in the oven, sprinkle top with flour. Using a single edge razor blade (or a sharp, serrated knife), make several cuts across top of bread about 1/2 inch deep.
  3. Bake 30-35 minutes until loaf is golden brown and internal temperature has reached 190 degrees. Allow to cool on rack before slicing. Or slice while it's hot at the risk of squashing your bread. It's worth it.

Notes

Directions for making bread with a stand mixer or by hand:

  1. Follow directions above for making the sponge. Use a medium size mixing bowl to mix the sponge and let it sit for 6-8 hours.
  2. To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add sponge and other ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue beating/kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe.
  3. If making by hand, combine all ingredients into a shaggy ball in a large bowl. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead with your hands until dough becomes smooth and elastic, a process that will likely take 10-20 minutes depending on your experience. Place dough ball into a greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise until double. Deflate dough gently and shape rolls as indicated in recipe
  4. Please note: If you substitute regular yeast for instant or bread machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape rolls.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 78Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 266mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 0gProtein: 2g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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Ju

Wednesday 6th of May 2020

The loaf rise nicely and hold the shape ?????? Good texture and taste — perfect to go with Lamb Shank Stew last night!!!

Ju

Tuesday 5th of May 2020

Gotta skip Recipe #3 for the moment...

Due to the current Movement Control Orders in my area, am still trying to buy some of the ingredients from the least crowded shop near my house.

I’ve made Recipe #4&5 before, thus making Recipe #6 (this one ☝?) to go with stew lamb shank dinner tomorrow.

The ‘sponge’ is sitting on my counter top as I typed... ???

Teddi

Saturday 11th of January 2020

HI Paula, I love your site. I’ve been spending hours reading about making bread and yogurt there.

I was all ready to try your Crusty Round Bread (made in a bread machine) recipe when I remembered that I read that Canadian all purpose flour and American all purpose flour are not the same. I read that Canadian all purpose flour contains more gluten and can therefore, be substituted for bread flour, but American flour is different. I see that you are writing from the U.S., so I thought I would ask you before trying the bread to see if Canadian all purpose flour can be used in your recipe.

Sincerely, Teddi Bread machine newbie

Paula

Sunday 12th of January 2020

That recipe will work with all-purpose unbleached or bread flour so I think you should be good. Hope you like it.

Mark French

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

This turned out great except I had to add two or three more tablespoons of water for the kneading or else it was much too dry and wouldn’t knead. Very chewy and yummy!

Paula

Tuesday 19th of November 2019

Sounds like you are a good and experienced bread baker who knows that the amount of moisture (water) and flour needed to make the perfect loaf can vary with the weather, measuring techniques, mixing method, etc. Glad you like the bread. I just made it myself this weekend. We ate it way too fast.

Jen

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

Hi, Really love this bread and tidy experimenting with it as a pizza base.... Just wondering if I could delay second rise, after biga, in the fridge as I don't want to bake it for ~8hrs (10am now). Would this be OK do you think?

Paula

Saturday 23rd of February 2019

Hi Jen, I haven't tried it so can't say for sure. Definitely think it's worth a try. It would allow more time to develop the flavor for sure.