While TLMM's cousin Bruce and his wife Christina were visiting, I learned how to make this amazing bread! When you see how easy it is, you will make it weekly.
4 1/2 cups flour (we used King Arthur's Bread Flour)
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
Pour over dry mixture in mixer. Let it mix until it's just incorporated, less than a minute.
Let it sit for 10 minutes. Turn on mixer for a couple of minutes. Scrape off paddle and sides and put on for another few seconds. Dough is very sticky and wet.
Put a few tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. Empty dough into bowl and flour your hands. Flip over once with your hands so that the oil coats the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and do not disturb for 1 hour.
After an hour, the dough has risen!
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On middle rack, preheat baking stone or upside down cookie sheets to use to slide dough and parchment paper on. Also preheat a heat-resistant or cast iron skillet on the bottom rack. You will see why in a second.
Put a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and fold it up in the middle to keep the two loaves separated. Sprinkle a little bit of fine corn meal on the paper like so.
The dough has really risen!
The dough is very sticky so liberally flour surface and scrape dough out of bowl. Liberally flour your hands, too. Without working the dough too much with your hands, push into a rectangular shape and cut in half with a floured knife.
Flip one of the halves so that it gets floured on all sides and put onto one side of the parchment paper, again don't work it too much with your hands- the less touching the better.
Do the same with the second half.
Slide parchment paper onto pre-heated cookie sheets or baking stone.
Throw a handful of ice cubes into the cast iron or heat resistant pan underneath. This helps the crust develop to be crusty and the bread softer in the center.
Close the oven door and say abracadabra!!
Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops are just starting to turn golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Slide parchment paper back on cookie sheet and remove loaves from oven.
Slide parchment paper onto cooling racks. Let cool for a few minutes, and slice and spread with softened butter or dip in olive oil.
Heaven...and the eggs.