If you are in Canada use white all purpose, in U.S. use white bread flour for this recipe, I have made this bread successfully using half white and half whole wheat bread flour! This recipe can also be made by hand, although I have never tried it I imagine that the dough could also be kneaded in a bread machine and then shaped and baked in the oven. This is a delicious spongy-textured bread that goes perfect with a spaghetti or pasta dinner. I sometimes like to add in about 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning into the dough when kneading for a herbed flavor, you can also add in about 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese if desired, also vegetable or Canola can be used in place of olive oil, but olive oil is better! You can make two smaller loaves or shape into one larger loaf! I use only 1 teaspoon salt for this bread just personal preference, for some it might be on the "bland" side so you might want to increase the salt to 1-1/4 teaspoons. This dough makes a great focaccia also, just omit the cornmeal --- for pan greasing see my Pan Release, Professional Pan Coating (Better Than Pam Spray!)
- Prepare a heavy-duty stand mixer with the kneading attachment.
- Pour in 2-1/2 cups flour, cornmeal, 2 teaspoons sugar, olive oil and salt into the stainless steel mixing bowl.
- In a measuring cup proof the yeast with 1-1/4 cups warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar for about 8-10 minutes or until foamy.
- Pour the water/yeast mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture in it, then start kneading adding in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, and dough is soft and smooth not sticky and wet (kneading should take about 6-8 minutes).
- Transfer the dough into an oiled bowl.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 45-50 minutes, or until doubled (watch the dough closely since you are using a smaller amount of flour, and using 3 teaspoons of yeast, the dough rises a little quicker!).
- Punch down; cover and let rest for about 10-12 minutes in the bowl (this is important, the dough must rest for 10-12 minutes after punching down and before shaping!).
- Transfer the dough onto a lightly-floured surface and evenly divide in half.
- Shape each half into a thin 10-12-inch long loaf (or you can shape in one thicker shorter loaf if desired).
- Place the shaped loaves onto a 15 x 10-inch baking sheet that has been lighly greased and then sprinkled with about 2 tablespoons cornmeal.
- Cover with a clean tea towel and let rise for about 25-30 minutes.
- Spray the tops of the bread with cooking spray (I use Pam olive oil spray for this).
- Bake at 400°F for about 20-22 minutes for 2 small long loaves, or until golden brown (adjust baking time longer for 1 large loaf).
- Cool on a wire rack.