Monday, March 1, 2010

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
6 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1. In a large bowl or plastic container, mix yeast and salt into 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100 degrees). Stir in flour, mixing until there are no dry patches. Dough will be soft. Loosely cover. Let dough rise at room temperature 2 hours (or up to 5 hours).

2. Bake at this point or refrigerate, covered, for as long as two weeks. When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on dough and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Turn dough in hands to lightly stretch surface, creating a rounded top and lumpy bottom. Put rounded dough on cookie sheet generously sprinkled with cornmeal; let rest and rise 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough or refrigerate it.

3. Place an oven proof dish with about 1+ cup water on the bottom rack in your oven. (This will ensure a crispy crust.) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

4. After the dough has risen, dust top of dough with a little flour, slash top with serrated knife three times. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes.

Tip: To keep the "crusty-like" crust on the bread, don't wrap it or put it in a tightly sealed container after baking.

Yield: about 4 loaves

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