Aug 27, 2012


2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ½ teaspoons salt
1.In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Let sit for 2 to 3 minutes, until the yeast is beginning to get creamy. Add 2 cups of the flour and stir 100 times in the same direction to combine. Cover with plastic and set in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.
 2. If making the dough in a standing mixer: Combine the remaining flour and the salt and add to the yeast mixture all at once. Mix together using the paddle, then change to the dough hook. Knead at low speed for 2 minutes, then turn up to medium speed and knead until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, clusters around the dough hook, and slaps against the sides of the bowl, about 8 minutes. Add flour as needed. Hold on to the machine if it bounces around. Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand for 2 to 3 minutes longer. The dough should be sticky.
If making the dough by hand: Stir the salt into the dough. Fold in the flour a cup at a time, using a large wooden spoon. As soon as you can scrape the dough out in one piece, scrape out onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary, until the dough is elastic. It should be sticky.
3.Transfer the dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, rounded side down, then turn so the rounded side is up. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm spor to rise until doubled, about 1 ½ hours.
4.Punch down the dough and let rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.
5.Line 2 baking sheets with parchment and lightly oil the parchment. Divide the dough into 4 equal balls. Roll or press out to a 1-inch thickness, and place 2 on each baking sheet. Cover with lightly oiled plastic and damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes while you heat the oven.
6.Place a baking stone on the center rack and heat the oven to 450*F. Bake the breads for 20 to 25 minutes, until puffed and light brown. Cool on a rack.

Advance preparation: Follow the recipe through Step 3. Then punch down the dough, form into a ball, oil the ball lightly with olive oil, and place in a plastic freezer bag. Refrigerate for up to 1 week.