Nancy Donahue on
Aug. 20, 2014
Simple Crusty Bread
Yield: 4 (1-pound) loaves, about 64 slices
1 1/2 tablespoons each: yeast, coarse salt
3 cups lukewarm water
6 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for dusting dough
Mix yeast and salt into the water in a large bowl or plastic container. Stir in the flour, mixing until there are no dry patches; the dough will be quite loose. Cover, but not airtight. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 to 5 hours.
Bake immediately, if desired, or refrigerate, loosely covered, for up to 2 weeks (the dough is easier to handle when it's cold). When ready to bake, sprinkle a little flour on the dough; cut off a grapefruit-sized piece. Turn dough in floured hands to lightly
stretch the surface until smooth and round on top and lumpy on the bottom.
3. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Sprinkle a pizza peel with cornmeal. Place the dough on the peel; let rise 40 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough, or refrigerate. Place a broiler
pan on bottom of oven. Place a baking stone on the middle rack. (If using a loaf pan without a baking stone, stretch rounded dough into an oval and place into a greased, nonstick loaf pan. Let rest 40 minutes if fresh, 1 hour if refrigerated. Heat oven to
450 degrees for 5 minutes.)
4. Dust loaf with flour, slash top in a cross with a serrated knife. Slide loaf onto baking stone or, if using loaf pan, place loaf pan on middle rack Pour 1 cup water into the broiler pan; close oven door quickly to trap
steam. Bake until well browned, about 30 minutes; cool completely before cutting.
Per slice: 47 calories, 1 gram protein, 10 grams carbohydrates, trace sugar, no fat, no cholesterol, 133 milligrams sodium, no dietary fiber.