This is my first Domestic Diva post, but this recipe is fabulous--so fast, easy and non-fussy. The friend who sent it to me said it would change my life...and it has! I've copied the recipe into the blog pretty much as she sent it to me (hence all the random commentary).
Simple Crusty Bread
3 c. warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt or 1 T iodized
6 1/2 c. flour or 6 cup whole wheat
Mix yeast, salt and water in large bowl. (Like popcorn size bowl.) Stir in flour, mixing until no dry patches remain. Dough will be very loose and sticky. Cover and let rise 2-5 hours.
Dust a pan or cookie sheet with cornmeal, maybe 1/3 cup. Sprinkle dough with flour and pull off grapefruit size pieces of dough. Turn into a ball using additional flour on your hands as needed to shape 4-6 loaves. (Remember this dough is ultra sticky so I justify the oddly shaped loaves as being rustic and artisan.) Let rest on pan for 40 minutes.
Heat oven to 450 degrees and place an empty pan such as an old muffin tin or bread pan on the bottom rack while heating. Dust loaves with flour and slash tops with a knife three times or if you are up to it in beautiful ornate patterns. Pour one cup of water in empty pan in oven and place loaves in oven. Quickly close oven door to prevent escaping steam. Bake for 30 minutes. (I know, seems like a long time at that high of heat but don't scrimp on time or you'll loose all the yummy crusty goodness! And don't peek by opening the oven door either. Tempting, but you'll loose the steam. Must. Keep. Steam.)
You can also keep the dough covered in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Let rest on cornmeal for an extra hour before baking.