My friend Sandy has done a mash-up of bread recipes.
She came up with the following. Now, the really cool thing about this is you don’t need to make the loaves at once: make a loaf, put the rest of the dough back in the fridge until you want to make the next loaf, then just pinch off a hunk and make fresh bread without going through the work of doing it all from scratch each time.
Makes 4 1-lb loaves.
- 3 cups lukewarm water (about 100F)
- 1-1/2 tbsp granulated yeast
- 1-1-/2 tbsp kosher or other coarse salt
- 6-1/2 cups unsifted, unbleached, all-purpose white flour
- cornmeal for dusting
To prepare dough:
- Add yeast and salt to water in a 5-quart bowl or lidded plastic food container. Don’t worry about getting it all to dissolve.
- Mix in all of the flour at once with a wooden spoon or in a large food processor/mixer with a dough attachment until the mixture is uniform and all flour is incorporated. If mixing by hand and it is difficult to mix all the flour in, wet hands and work by hand. Don’t knead the dough. The dough will be wet and loose enough to take the shape of the container.
- Cover (not airtight) and allow to rise at room temperature until it flattens on top or begins to collapse, approximately 2 hours. The dough can be used for baking at this point, although it will be easier to work with after refrigeration.
- Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks, cutting off and baking portions as described below.
Dough can be frozen in 1-lb portions; defrost overnight in the refrigerator prior to baking.Baking:
- Dust a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper with cornmeal.
- Sprinkle surface of refrigerated dough with flour, then pull up and cut off a 1-lb piece (about the size of a grapefruit) using a serrated knife. Sprinkle liberally with flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and to work into the dough. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides to form a ball with a smooth top, and create the gluten cloak for rising. Most of the flour will fall off. Dust the top with more cornmeal, since this will become the bottom of the loaf.
- Rest the loaf on the paper and let rise, uncovered, for about 40 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450F for at least 20 minutes with a covered pot or Pyrex dish in the oven.
- When the oven and dish are at heat, put your hand under the paper, lift the loaf, drop it upside down into the pot (removing the paper), and cover the pot.
- Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
- Uncover and bake for an additional 15-30 minutes until crust is brown.
- Lift out and cool on a wire rack.
Feel free to add herbs, cheese, or substitute different types of flour: you can use this recipe as a base to make all kinds of breads.