Prep 2 hrs
Cook 50 mins
From "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois. Makes 3 1-1/2 pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved.
- Mix yeast, salt, honey and butter with the lukewarm water in a 5 quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
- Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachement), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you're 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 a room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top); approximately 2 hours.
- The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 5 days.
- On baking day, lightly grease a 9x4x3 nonstick loaf pan with a neutral-tasting oil. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-1/2 pound (canteloupe sized) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom and all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go. Form an elongated oval and place it in the prepared pan. Allow to rest for 1 hour and 40 minutes (or just 40 minutes if you are using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
- Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 400F, with an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread.
- Place the loaf on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the door. Bake for about 50 minutes, or until deeply browned and firm.
- Allow to cool before slicing or eating.