Mix the yeast and salt with the water in a 5 qt bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food storage container.
Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14 cup capacity food processor [with dough attachment], Danish dough whisk, or a heavy duty stand mixer [with dough hook]. If you are not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
Cover (not airtight) and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
The dough can be used after initial rise though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 14 days or divide into 4 1-lb portions and freeze in an airtight container for no more than 3 weeks. Thaw 24 hours before usage.
On baking day, dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1 lb piece (grapefruit sized). Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Gradually elongate the dough ball. With the palms of your hands, gently roll the dough ball into the shape of a baguette, tapering the ends to points.
Allow to rest and rise on a whole wheat flour covered pizza peel for 30 minutes.
Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F, with a baking stone placed on the middle rack. Place an empty metal broiler pan on any other shelf that will not interfere with the baking.
Sprinkle the loaf liberally with flour and rotate peel so one end of loaf is pointing towards yourself. Using a sharp pair of kitchen shears, cut into the end pointing towards yourself downward at a 45 degree angle into the dough, stopping a quarter inch from the bottom. Fold cut piece over to right side. Do the same cut 1 inch further away from you and fold the cut piece over to the left side. Repeat until entire loaf is cut and pain d'epi is formed.
Slide the loaf directly onto the hot stone. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm. Allow to cool before slicing and eating. If you can't wait, slather with butter and eat warm.