Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
So, this is a great bread cookbook for its simplicity. This basic bread recipe (a boule) is delicious, and, compared to other breads, is very hands off! Instead, you just need time.
3 cups lukewarm water
1.5 tbsp yeast
1.5 tbsp kosher salt
6.5 c flour, measured by the scoop and sweep method
1 tsp dried thyme
0.5 tsp dried rosemary
Preparing the dough:
Add the yeast and salt to a very very large bowl. Add the water. Then add all the flour at once. Mix it in with a spoon until everything is uniformly moist. This will be a very wet dough - do not knead!
Cover with a lid that is not airtight and let rise at room temperature for about 2 to 4 hours, until it has doubled and started deflating. You can use the dough as is, but refrigerated dough is easier to work with. Place remaining dough in the refrigerator. The dough will keep up to 14 days, developing a bit more of a sourdough flavor as it ages.
On baking day:
Cloak and shape the loaf by cutting off a grapefruit sized piece of dough. Hold the mass of dough in your hands and sprinkle with flour to keep it from sticking. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around the ball, tucking the end under. Repeat while rotating the ball a quarter turn each time. This should take no more than 30 to 60 seconds. You do not need to knead the dough!
Let the loaf rest on a floured (and silpat-ed if desired) cookie sheet for 30ish minutes. Larger loaves need a longer rest.
Fill an 8x8 baking dish with water and place on the bottom rack of the over. Then preheat the oven to 450°F. The water will help create a nice moist environment, which contributes to a crisp crust.
When the bread is ready to bake, dust the top liberally with flour and then slash a few times with a serrated knife. (No, a non-serrated knife doesn't work as well, sadly....).
Bake the loaf for 30ish minutes, until the crust is nicely brown. The authors note that because this dough is so wet, it's hard to dry out the interior even with a very darkly browned crust. Allow the bread to cool completely to set the crumb.
While the original recipe calls for all-purpose flour, I've been using bread flour and been getting delicious results. Next I want to try adding a bit of wheat flour and seeing how that goes! He also calls for using a preheated pizza stone and a pizza peel. I've been happy with the results from just baking on a cookie sheet.