Recipe (makes four 1 lb loaves):
- 6.5 cups unbleached all purpose flour (i use 5 cups all purpose flour + 1.5 cups whole wheat flour)
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp dry yeast
- 3 cups lukewarm water (~ 100ºF)
In a large mixing bowl mix the yeast with the water until the yeast is all dissolved. Then add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until there are no dry patches left and the mixture is homogeneous. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for at least 2 hours.
Split the dough into four pieces. Take one piece and shape it into a rectangle, dust with flour and put it in the bottom of a 9'x6' pan. Leave the dough in the pan and let it raise for ~ 2 hours. Also, 20 min before baking, preheat oven to 450ºF and put an empty broiler tray at the very bottom tray of your oven that will be used for holding water. The remaining three pieces of dough you can put in separate zip-lock bags and keep it in the freezer for up to 14 days. Then when you want to bake a new batch, take out of the freezer, shape and place in pan and let sit for ~ 2 hours before baking it.
You can slash the surface of the dough with a sharp knife to get a more artisan looking bread.
Place the bread in the oven in the middle tray. Then VERY CAREFULLY pour a glass of water into the empty broiler pan that has been sitting in the bottom tray of the oven and be very careful not to get burned by the steam.
The steam from the water will make the crust really nice and crunchy. Bake for about 30 - 40 min or until the crust is nicely brown and firm to the touch. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool before cutting.