Before he passed away, my dad was experimenting with artisan breads. This was his favorite recipe. It makes enough for four loaves and will keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
4 t active dry yeast
4 t coarse kosher salt
6 1/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or 1/2 cup whole wheat and 1/3 cup rye)
Optional – chopped fresh herbs, e.g., rosemary and thyme
Directions for dough
- Combine water, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment.
- Stir in flour on low speed and mix until dough releases from the side of the bowl.
- Grease the inside of a bowl with olive oil and move the dough to the bowl. Dough will be wet. Let rise at room temperature until dough doubles in size, about 2 hours.
- Refrigerate overnight or up to 14 days.
To bake boule
- Remove 1/4 of the dough from the refrigerator. Place parchment paper on pizza peel.
- Hold dough and dust top with flour. Quickly shape into a ball by stretching surface of dough around the bottom on all four sides, rotating dough a quarter turn as you go.
- Place dough on parchment paper and allow to rest at room temperature for about an hour.
- About 30 mins before baking place baking stone on center rack of oven with a metal pan on the lower rack. Preheat oven to 450.
- Dust top of loaf with flour and make 2 or 3 slashes in the top of the dough with a serrated knife (about a 1/4 inch deep).
- When oven comes to temperature, slide the dough and parchment paper onto the baking stone. Add 1 cup hot water to pan and quickly close door to trap steam. The bread will have a crisp crust when it is done but the steam prevents the crust from becoming too hard. If you like a harder crust, omit the water pan.
- Bake 30 minutes. Remove bread and parchment from oven and place bread on a rack to cool a bit before slicing.