I’m definitely a convert. This is the easiest dough I have ever worked with and can literally be made in about 10 minutes. Then you wait a day, crank up your oven, bake it in a covered stock pot for 30 minutes, remove the lid and finish the bread for another 15 minutes. Voila.
So it’s your turn…do this now.
3 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 tsp. Active dry yeast
1 1/4 tsp. Salt (I think you are better off adding 2 tsp. of salt)
1 5/8 cups of water (I did more like 1 3/4 the first time and then 2 cups second time)
Mix all these ingredients together and allow it to sit for 18 or more hours
After 15 hours at room temperature (you could easily keep this 2 days in the fridge if you wanted to retard it further and develop more flavor)
Lay down a clean tea towel and dust it with 1/8″ thick layer of flour. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and lay it on the floured tea towel. Fold the dough loosely into itself to form a flattened boule. Cover with the excess tea towel and allow to rise for 2 hours
An hour and a half into the rising period heat up your oven to 450º along with an 8 qt. stock pot (must have a tight fitting lid which you will need when you add the dough)
After the two hour rising period. Remove the pan from the oven and gently place the dough into the pot (the recipe says to put it in seam side up, but I did it seam side down and it worked fine). Place the lid on the pot and put into the oven.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and bake for another 15 minutes. Allow the bread to cool down before trying to cut.
A few notes on what I have learned so far. No adjustments have been necessary for the altitude here in Denver. The amount of yeast seems to create a nice airy dough. The original recipe’s water content seemed a little shy on my first attempt so I added a little more. Approximately 1 3/4 cup of water. the second time I went right for 2 cups. Both doughs worked fine. I preferred the 1 3/4 cup version as it was a little less loose to work with.
The original salt content of 1 1/4 tsp. salt tasted flat. 2 tsp. was much better. Next time I will try 2 1/4 tsp.
The first time I used a le Creuset casserole and the second time I used an anodized aluminum Caphalon pot. Le Creuset created a much more uniform deep brown crust, the Caphal0n burned the bottom lightly. Both times I actually baked in a 465° oven. Maybe if I baked it in the Caphalon at the recommended temperature it would have come out perfectly. Regardless of which direction you go this dough seems to be very forgiving and low maintenance.