In a large bowl, add yeast to
warm water and let it sit for 5 minutes until bubbly. Sprinkle a large baking sheet with corn
Add sugar, salt and olive oil
to yeast and water. Add flour, starting
with 4 cups. Dough may be mixed by hand
or using a mixer until dough comes together and no longer sticks to the sides
of the bowl; you will most likely need to add the 5th cup of flour. When dough no longer sticks to the bowl,
knead it in the bowl for 3-5 minutes.
With floured hands, divide the
dough into two equal pieces, form each into a ball and coat generously with
flour. Place floured dough balls on
prepared baking sheet 4-5 inches apart.
a serrated knife, slash a tic-tac-toe design on top of each ball of dough. Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed
lightly with nonstick spray and let rise in a warm draft free place for 40-60
minutes, or until doubled in size.
Position oven racks to have one
in the center of the oven and one below it.
Place a rimmed metal baking sheet on the lower rack. Preheat oven to 500°F.
Uncover dough and place the
baking sheet with the loaves on middle rack.
Toss 3-4 ice cubes on the baking sheet positioned on lower rack and close
oven door immediately. Adding ice to the
hot oven will create steam that results in the rustic crust artisanal bread is
Bake bread for 15-20 minutes,
or until golden brown. Remove bread
from oven and place loaves on a rack to cool.
2 free form loaf
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