I have said before how much I love the King Arthur Flour Blog, and I really, really do. The recipe for crusty white bread came along at exactly the right moment. A couple of weeks ago we had soup in our house, we bought a loaf of what we thought was crusty bread. Turned out, it was not at all crusty and not even that tasty, despite outward appearances. The next time we had soup, we tried again. The bread was somewhat more crusty, but the crust kind of flaked off, so you lost that good crunch. So, we came to the conclusion that there was no crusty bread here, as far as we could tell.
Then, I saw a blog post on King Arthur Flour for easy, crusty bread and I knew I had to try it. So, it was super easy -- you just mix flour, yeast, water and salt together, leave it to rise on the counter for two hours and then for up to a week in the fridge. The longer you leave it in the fridge, the more the tang develops. I hear that, in a week, it will taste like sourdough. You have to plan ahead -- you can't mix and eat on the same day, but with a little planning you can have delicious, crusty bread.
You can find the recipe here. I have read on various blogs that this is very similar to the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day recipe. Whatever recipe you use, I urge you to try this bread. I don't think it is possible to screw this up.