1 Envelope dry yeast
3 c Warm water (105 F to 115 F)
8 c (about) unbleached
1 tb Salt
1 Egg white beaten with 1 Tbs
Soak a brick in water overnight, then drain it and put it in the oven with
the bread to create steam. This gives the loaves a firm crust.
Makes 12 small loaves
Soak brick in water overnight.
Sprinkle yeast onto 1/4 cup warm water in bowl of electric meixer fitted
with a dough hook; stir to dissolve. Let stand 5 minutes. Add remaining
water, 4 cups flour and salt and beat until smooth. Beat in remaining flour
1/2 cup at a time until slightly sticky dough forms. Mix until smooth and
elastic, about 8 minutes. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and
knead until smooth and no longer sticky, adding more flour if necessary,
about 3 minutes. (Dough can also be mixed and kneaded by hand.) Grease
large bowl and add dough, turning to coat surface. Cover with damp towel.
Let rise at room temperature 8 hours.
Punch dough down and knead on lightly floured surface until smooth, about
minutes. Return to greased bowl, turning to coat entire surface. Cover
with damp towel and let rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in
volume, about 2 hours.
Grease baking sheets and sprinkle with cornmeal. Punchy dough down and
knead on lightly floured surface until smooth, about 2 minutes. Divide into
12 pieces. Pat each into 4x7-inch rectangle. Roll up jelly roll fashion,
starting at one long side. Pinch seams to seal. Arrange seam side down on
prepared sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Let rise until almost doubled in
volume, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475 F. Remove brick from water and place in oven. Make 3
diagonal slashes in loaves. Brush with egg glaze. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce
oven to 350 F and continue baking until loaves sound hollow when tapped on
bottom, about 35 minutes. Cool on racks before serving.