From this initial recipe you can add whole wheat, rye, etc, as you become proficient

1000 gr Red Fife or Turkey Red Sifted (Bolted) or Turkey Red White Flour

1 tsp dry active yeast (buy yeast where it is fresh).  It will last up to a year if kept refrigerated

1 Tbsp sea salt

620 gr water (no chlorine)

Use a large plastic container – Cambro 6 quart container with cover is ideal

Mix and knead by hand, thoroughly combining all the ingredients until a wet dough forms.  Wetting your hands makes the mixing easier.

Let it proof for about 1 hour in the covered container.  It should begin to rise. The dough can be refrigerated for 1-2 days to slow ferment, or proceed with baking.  If refrigerated, let it warm up a couple of hours before proceeding.

Finish the dough by stretching rather than kneading. With a wet hand, slide it down the side of the dough and grab it from the bottom.  Stretch it up and lay in over the top of itself. Think of the dough ball as a clock.  Grab a quarter of the dough at 3:00, and stretch it upward as far as it will go without tearing, hopefully 8-12 inches. Lift and push this stretched dough to the middle of the ball.  Repeat at the 6:00, 9:00, and 12:00 sides of the ball.  Because it is a wet dough, it will flatten out but it should be rising.

Return cover and proof for about 30 minutes.

Repeat stretching the four sides to the middle.  Do this 3-4 times more with 30-45 minutes between stretches, until the dough feels as though it is stiffening up.

Preheat oven and Dutch oven to 450 F for 45 minutes prior to baking.

In 30 minutes or less the dough will have relaxed from the previous stretching. Carefully remove it from the container to a lightly floured counter top.

Now the dough can be shaped as desired. Shape it gently without squeezing the air out of it. For a round loaf, gently push the bottom together with both hands and turn 45 degrees.  Do this 4-5 times until it is nicely rounded into a dome.

Because it is hot, carefully remove the cover from the non-greased Dutch oven, place the dough in it and cover.

Bake small loaves 32-35 minutes.  All ovens bake differently so check it more often the first few times you bake. A thermometer inserted in the center of the thickest part of the loaf should read 200 F when it is finished.


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