The method here is to make a wet dough, use a small amount of yeast, and use the stretch and fold method to develop gluten. The recipe below can be made as a direct bread as written or by using a poolish. For a poolish, just mix one third of the flour with one third of the water and add 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast. Cover and leave on counter for 4 hours until bubbly and risen to double. Then add the remaining ingredients and proceed as written. A poolish improves flavor and browning.
- Mix all ingredients just until combined and rest for 30 minutes in the mixing bowl. Use wet hands if desired.
- With wet hands or dough scraper, stretch and fold on counter letter style folding all four sides over. Don't pull the dough apart.
- Place in oiled bowl or straight sided container and cover.
- in 30 minutes, stretch and fold and return to bowl. The dough should be stronger and smooth and shiny. If not, do another stretch and fold in 20 to 30 minutes. It should take 2 to 3 hours to rise to twice the initial volume or slightly more than twice.
- Divide into 2 parts and gently shape into 2 balls using flour on counter and hands.
- Place into floured bannetons or floured bowls to rise another 40 to 50 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 500F along with a cast iron skillet on the floor of the onen for steaming.
- When 1.5 its volume, turn balls out onto parchment and score with a double edged razor blade and be careful not to cut yourself. Drop temperature to 425°F.
- Place in oven on pizza stone or baking sheet and add 1 cup of boiling water carefully to the skillet. Don't drop water onto the oven door glass.
- Cook for 12 minutes and rotate the loaves for even cooking, removing the steaming pan. Bake for 8 more minutes or until the loaves are 205 F internally.
- Remove to cooling rack and wait 45 minutes before cutting.