- 3 cups warm water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons yeast or 2 packages of rapid rise yeast
- 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups bread flour
- cornmeal or flour
- In a food grade 3 1/2 quart dough bucket or a non air tight container mix the water, salt and yeast.
- Add the flour and with a dough whisk or wooden spoon mix the dough for a few minutes - just until the flour is incorporated.
- Dough will be very wet and sticky. Mix until all the flour is absorbed and a wet dough forms.
- Loosely cover the container with a lid and allow to rise on the counter for a couple of hours until the dough doubles in volume.
- Once the dough has risen you can cut off a ball of dough and bake your first loaf of artisan bread. Or you can place the lid on the dough container and refrigerate it over night or up to two weeks and allow the dough to ferment slightly and create a delicious tangy sourdough flavor.
- Baking day on a pizza stone or in a dutch oven- If using a pizza stone sprinkle some cornmeal or flour on the pizza stone and place in the oven on the middle rack. Place the shallow pan on the rack below the pizza stone. Preheat the stone, shallow pan and the oven to 450 F.
- If using a dutch oven see the instructions below.
- Remove the container of dough from the refrigerator. Sprinkle the pizza stone or the back side of a cookie sheet with flour or cornmeal so the prepared bread loaf will slide off easily when you transfer it to the hot pizza stone in the oven.
- Sprinkle the top of the wet dough with flour, coat your hands with flour. Without kneading the dough cut off a 1 pound piece of dough (1/4 of the entire amount of dough is about 1 pounds).
- With your floured hands form a ball of dough by pulling the outside edges around to the bottom of the dough ball, stretching the dough as necessary. Place the dough on the floured pizza stone or backside of the floured/cornmealed cookie sheet. Allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes.
- Brush the top of the dough with a pastry brush dipped in water. With a sharp knife slash across the top of the bread loaf.
- Slide the prepared bread dough onto the preheated pizza stone.
- Pour 1/2 cup of water into the shallow pan in the bottom of the oven and quickly close the oven door.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is golden and the loaf is firm to the touch.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.