Husband-Tested in Alice’s Kitchen
This bread is just like the kind you get from your waiter as you sit down at a fancy restaurant. You know, the kind that’s crusty on the outside, holey and chewy on the inside. The waiter places it on the table along side a shallow dish filled with fruity extra-virgin olive oil sprinkled with herbs so that the bread can be dipped. It takes time to make this, but not the busy kind. Most of the time is spent letting the dough just sit, which is key to making this delicious bread. There’s no kneading required. (Visit the link above to see a video that shows step by step how to make this bread. Of course, you can just follow the directions below, but the video is inspiring!) Make this bread to go along with some hot soup for a fabulous wintertime meal.
3 cups (430g) flour
1½ cups (345g or 12oz) water
¼ teaspoon (1g) yeast
1¼ teaspoon (8g) salt
olive oil (for coating)
extra flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal (for dusting)
Two medium mixing bowls
6 to 8 quart pot with lid (Pyrex glass, Le Creuset cast iron, or ceramic)
Wooden Spoon or spatula (optional)
Two or three cotton dish towels (not terrycloth)
Mix all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add water and incorporate by hand or with a wooden spoon or spatula for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Lightly coat the inside of a second medium bowl with olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rest 12 hours at room temperature (approx. 65-72°F).
Remove the dough from the bowl and fold once or twice. Let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl or on the work surface. Next, shape the dough into ball. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal; place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with flour. Cover the dough with a cotton towel and let rise 1-2 hours at room temperature, until more than doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 450-500°F. Place the pot in the oven at least 30 minutes prior to baking to preheat. Once the dough has more than doubled in volume, remove the pot from the oven and place the dough in the pot seam side up. Cover with the lid and bake 30 minutes Then remove the lid and bake 15-30 minutes uncovered, until the loaf is nicely browned.