6cupsall-purpose flouryou may substitute up to 2-1/2 cups with whole-wheat or other kind of wholegrain flour
1/2teaspoonactive dry yeastsprinkled over 1/2 cup of warm water between 110 and 115 degrees F
3cupswaterat 110 to 115-degree F
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment (I always start at the slowest speed to avoid flour flying into the air, and once most of the flour is incorporated, I switch to the second-slowest speed to finish).
Alternatively, use a wooden spoon to mix everything in a large bowl. When you are done, your dough will look like this:
Next, use a bowl scraper or a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl and to compact the dough neatly on the bottom:
Cover the bowl with a plate and allow the dough to rise at room temperature from between 4-5 hours to overnight.
I usually make my dough in the evening and then bake it the following morning, but I’ve also been known to increase the amount of yeast to 2 teaspoons for a quick two-hour rise in a pinch.
The dough is ready to bake as soon as it has doubled in bulk and the surface has become dotted with air bubbles:
Half-an-hour before you intend to bake, place your dutch oven into the oven and set the temperature to 500 degrees F. Set the timer for 30 minutes.
Once the timer goes off, pour your dough directly into the hot pot, using a bowl scraper or a rubber spatula to make sure all of it goes in. Note that it won’t have much of a shape at this point:
Set your timer for another 30 minutes. If your loaf appears a little pale upon emerging from the oven, keep the lid off and return the bread to the oven for the additional 3-5 minutes, or until the loaf is browned to your liking.
Just keep in mind that, if you keep it in there for too long, the loaf might stick to the bottom of the pot and be difficult to remove. If this happens, allow it to cool in the dutch oven as the loaf will pull itself from the bottom as it cools and shrinks.
A word of caution: Your pot will become incredibly hot in the 500-degree oven, so be sure to double-up your pot holders!
No dutch oven? No problem! This bread can also be successfully baked in a stock-pot, as long as your lid isn’t glass and doesn’t feature a plastic handle. If your only suitable pot does not have an oven-safe lid, use a cookie-sheet as a makeshift pot cover.Adapted from the New York Times