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Start with tap water at about 100 degrees (body temperature), make sure the water is not too hot it will kill the yeast. Colder water is ok it will just take longer to rise, if your letting it sit overnight it really doesn’t matter.
add the yeast to the water and mix it up. Don’t worry if all the yeast does not dissolve, it will finish mixing in the flour.
Mix the salt into the flour
add the flour into the yeast water and start your mixer. (This is a wet dough.)
Now place your dough into your container, and cover but not tightly and place on the counter for about 2 hours to rise. (If you don’t have time to wait let it sit out for about a half an hour or so, and put it in the refrigerator overnight, it will rise just more slowly.) The dough does need to sit in the refrigerator after the initial rise for at least 3 hours before using*
Now that your dough has set up we are ready to form a dough ball. Pull off about a one-pound piece of dough (this recipe will make about 3 loaves this size). This is the only time you really handle the dough. You need to pull it down to form a ball, tucking all the ends in at the bottom. The ball should be semi-smooth.
place the dough ball on a pizza peel or cookie sheet with a liberal amount of cornmeal under it so it will not stick.
Let this dough rise for 40 minutes, and while it is rising let's preheat our oven and baking stone to 450 degrees for at least 20 minutes*
Before sliding the dough off the peel, dust the top with flour and make some light slices into the dough for that artisan look.*
before you slide it into the oven you need one more thing, in another baking dish, or the broiler tray, add two cups of water, the steam it creates will give the crust that nice crackle.
Now slide of the dough closer the door and give it 30 minutes to start.
The dough should have a dark color (probably darker than you think it should be), this is our rustic artisan bread.
You may have to experiment a little to get it just right for your oven, but you won’t be far off the mark with this as your starting point, my oven took 35 minutes