500 grams bread flour
10 grams instant yeast
380 – 420 ml water
7 – 10 grams salt
2 Tablespoons olive oil (optional)
Mix ingredients thoroughly and place into floured container. Seal the container and leave it at room temperature for 2 hours, then leave in the refrigerator for 2 days.
(For the faster rise method, use warm water and let the dough rise at room temperature for 3 hours before it is ready for baking.)
Pre-heat dutch oven to 425 – 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turn the dough out onto a floured board and fold the dough over itself a few times.
*(You can even knead the dough and add more flour if you like, but it’s not necessary. You can plop the whole mound of dough into your bread baking container without ever touching the dough and still produce a nice rustic loaf. )
Spray mist the loaf with water and score the loaf just before placing it in the oven.
*(scoring the loaf encourages even expansion of the bread. The dough may be so moist it might not seem to be doing much when you score it, but it helps)
Drop the loaf into the heated dutch oven and cover it. (I prefer to use a flat piece of foil or a sheet pan because it is easier to remove than the dutch oven lid and you have much less risk of scalding your arms. A flat piece of foil serves the very same purpose as the heavy lid of the dutch oven.)
(both covering the dough with foil during the early bake and spraying the dough with moisture slows down the formation of the crust so that the rise will last longer)
Bake at 425 – 450 degrees F, depending on the oven and how crusty you want the bread.
Keep covered with lid or foil for the first twenty minutes, uncovered for the last twenty to twenty-five minutes.