active dry yeast
1 tablespoon melted warm butter or 1 tablespoon
( durum flour; use masa harina or cornmeal in a pinch)
- Sift flour into a mixing bowl and place into a low oven to warm.
- Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water, then stir in remaining water, salt, and sugar.
- Remove flour from oven; take 2 cups of flour from the bowl and set aside.
- Make a well in the remaining flour and pour in the liquid; stir in a little of the flour until the liquid gets thick, then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place until the mixture is frothy, about 10 minutes.
- Stir the rest of the flour into the liquid, and add the butter/oil gradually, beating with a wooden spoon or mixing with your hands until smooth (about 10 minutes), or alternatively, use a dough hook/mixer for 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle a little flour onto a board, and turn the dough out; gradually mix in some of the flour you had set aside earlier.
- Only knead in enough to keep the dough from sticking; dough is ready when it is satiny, and the surface is slightly wrinkled; shape into a ball.
- Oil the dough, and place in bowl, making sure the top side is oiled completely; cover bowl with plastic and allow to rise in a warm place for 1-1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.
- Punch down and make into 2 pieces; turn onto floured surface, and form each into a torpedo-shape.
- Grease baking sheet and sprinkle with semolina; place the dough well apart on the sheet and cut 4 diagonal slashes across the dough; cover with a cloth and allow to proof in a warm place until doubled again, about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Place a dish of boiling water on the bottom of the oven; spray bread lightly with a mister and bake in preheated oven for approx 35-40 minutes; after first 15 minutes, mist again with water, then again 10 minutes later.
- Cool on a rack when done.