- 3 c bread flour
- 1 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/4 tsp. instant or other active dry yeast
- 1 1/3 c cool (55-65 degrees F) water
- wheat bran, cornmeal, or additional flour for dusting
- In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until you have a wet, sticky dough, about 30 seconds. Make sure it’s really sticky to the touch; if it’s not, mix in another tablespoon or two of water.
- Cover the bowl with a plate, tea towel, or plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature (about 72 degrees F), out of direct sunlight, until the surface is dotted with bubbles and the dough is more than doubled in size. This will take a minimum of 12 hours and (my preference) up to 18 hours.
- When the first fermentation is complete, very generously dust a Dutch oven or oven-safe pot
with flour, wheat bran, or corn meal. Use lightly floured hands or a bowl scraper or spatula to lift the edges of the dough in toward the center. Nudge and tuck in the edges of the dough to make it round.
- Cover the pot and place it in a warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 to 2 hours. The dough is
ready when it is almost doubled. If you gently poke it with your finger, making an indentation about 1/4 inch deep, it should hold the impression. If it doesn’t, let it rise for another 15 minutes.
- Half an hour before the end of the second rise, preheat the oven to 475 degrees F, with a rack in the lower position. When the dough is finished rising, place the covered pot in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking until the bread is a deep chestnut color but not burnt, 15-30 minutes more.