Crusty Artisan Bread
I typically make one loaf at a time. The source recipe has ingredients for three loafs. The additional dough can be refrigerated for up to 14 days. Once refrigerated, the dough will shrink back a bit; that’s okay. Do not punch down the dough at any point, and keep it loosely covered with plastic wrap.
2 1/6 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
1 1/3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast (see note)
1 cup lukewarm water
1. In a very large (6-quart) bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and yeast. Add the remaining water and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture is uniformly moist, without any patches of flour. The dough should be sticky and conform to the shape of the bowl. If your dough is too dry, add a few tablespoons more warm water. If it’s too wet, add a few tablespoons of flour. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let it sit on the counter in a warm spot for 2 hours.
2. Dust a pizza peel with cornmeal or flour.
3. Dust the surface of the dough and your hands lightly with flour. Pull out the dough and coat the outside lightly with flour (you don’t want to incorporate more flour into the dough, you just want to be able to handle it). Gently work the dough into a smooth ball, stretching the surface and tucking the ends underneath, adding more flour as needed so it doesn’t stick to your hands. (Don’t overwork the dough; this process should only take about 30 seconds.) Put the dough ball onto the prepared pizza peel sheet and let it rest at room temperature, uncovered, for about 40 minutes. (If the dough has been refrigerated, allow it to rise for 60 minutes, or up to 90 minutes if you want a more open and airy crumb structure.) The dough will rise a bit. It may also spread/flatten a bit; that’s okay.
4. 20 minutes for baking place a baking stone into the middle rack on the oven oven. On the lowest rack position of the oven place a metal pan (any metal cake pan or broiler pan will work; just don’t use glass) and fill with a cup or two of water. This with water later to create steam in the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
5. Generously dust the dough with flour. Using a sharp knife, make a few 1/2-inch-deep slashes in the dough — a scallop, cross, or tic tac toe pattern all look nice.
6. Slide the dough into onto the stone, Bake until the loaf is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
This bread is best enjoyed fresh on the day it is made. Once sliced, place the loaf cut-side down on a cutting board or plate and leave it uncovered. (If it lasts beyond a day, slice and freeze.)
Note: If you would prefer to use active dry yeast, follow the instructions on the package then add the flour. Typically the yeast calls of a 1/4 cup of water thus you will need an additional 3/4 cup for this recipe.
Source: Jenn Segal, Once Upon a Chef — Crusty Artisan Bread