Is there any better smell in the world then fresh bread. I love it! I got my first copy of Mother Earth News in 2009 and was so lucky to have the recipe from Artisan Bread in five minutes a Day. I have been baking with this recipe ever since and man is it amazing. I have played with the recipe a bit but for the most part it is the same one you find in the book.
3 cups warm water
1 1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp salt (I love the taste of sea salt)
6 1/2 cups of flour.
Some corn meal
I started off using all purpose flour, and you do get a good bread from it but I tried bread flour one year just for fun, and wow what a difference. It really does taste better and looks beautiful.
Mix together your water and yeast, add in your salt and sugar. Wait until you see bubbles forming at the top of the liquid. Slowly add in your flour. This dough well be sticky. The original recipe calls for you to just mix until it balls up. You can do it that way but if you want bread that day it is better to knead it for about 5 min.
Place in a container that has a lid you can attach but still leave loose to allow air to escape. If you do tighten it prepare for it to explode. I mean really explode and terrify the dog and you for at least a week. Not that I know this from experience at all :P
Allow the dough to rise for about 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
Cut off about a grapefruit size amount. Dust with flour and pull at least 4 if not 6 of the edges over so you have a smooth top to your bread. The bottom will have the uneven ugly edges you pulled over. This is okay.
Set the ball on a board liberally dusted with flour and cover with a slightly damp washcloth. I live in really dry Colorado and if you leave it to just rise it will dry out. Some of you who live in damper area's may be able to skip this step. Leave it to rise for 30 min.
Place a cooking stone, or cookie sheet in the middle of your oven. On the rack below that place a metal dish of some sort (I use a baking dish) At the end of 30 min start preheating your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Set the timer for 20 min. Your oven wont be finished preheating, or well be really close.
Open the over and add 1 cup hot water to the metal dish. Sprinkle the stone, or cookie sheet with corn meal.
Place your dough on the stone/cookie sheet trying to disturb it as little as possible.
Bake for 30 min, and prepare for Delicious-ness.
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