I first got this recipe in the Recipe Circle Letter I participate in. I've been playing with it and adapting it to get it the way I like it. It really is super easy!
First, get out a big plastic or glass bowl with a lid. I use my big tupperware bowl. Just don't use a metal bowl.
Second, put the following ingredients into the bowl:
7 1/2 Cups Flour --- My preference is White Flour but I've played around with using all Whole Wheat and a half White/half Wheat Flour
1 Tablespoon Yeast
1 Tablespoon Salt
3 3/4 Cups Warm Water
Optional: Fresh Herbs --- Right now I'm on a Herbes de Provence kick; can't get enough of that savory Lavendar blend. I use 2 Tablespoons.
Stir to moisten ingredients and put the lid loosely on top of the bowl. Leave it on the counter. After at least 2 hours (but up to 18 hours), the bread is ready to form into artisan boule loaves. Nope, you don't knead it!
Third, to form a boule, just gently scoop out half of the dough and gently blob it onto parchment paper which is resting on a cookie sheet (use one without sides; you will use this hard surface to transfer the dough to the oven). Repeat with the remaining half of the dough on another piece of parchment. Do your best to handle the dough as little as possible--don't squish out those air bubbles; they are what help make artisan bread 'artisan'.
Now, I personally don't like the way this bread bakes on just plain parchment--it spreads a little too much for me; I like a 'taller' loaf. So here is what I do: I take my Angel Food Cake pan (removing the bottom tube piece) and line it with a large piece of parchment paper, kind of like making a giant cupcake. A cheesecake pan with the bottom removed will work, too. Then I gently pour all of the bread dough into my 'mold' and let it rise.
Here's my mold:
And what it looks like before baking:
Fourth, let the dough rise for a total of 40 minutes. After 20 minutes have passed, turn your oven on to 475* to preheat for 20 minutes. Put a pizza stone or an upside-down cast iron skillet in the oven for the bread to bake on. Make certain that the oven rack you plan to bake on is at the middle position. Place a smaller pan filled with water on the bottom rack, underneath the pizza stone. This water evaporating will create steam in the oven, resulting in a yummy crusty loaf.
Fifth, when 40 minutes have passed, open the oven and quickly slide the bread, mold, and parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone and shut the oven door as fast as you can to keep the steam in.
Sixth, bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven. To maintain that crusty exterior, promplty remove from the parchment paper and cool on a cooling rack. If you are baking the entire batch of dough in one loaf, you may need to add another 5-7 minutes to the bake time, depending on how your oven bakes. I like to cover my bread with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to prevent it from getting so dark.
Makes 2 (1.5-lb) or 1 (3-lb.) boules.
And here is is: Pa amb Tomaquet!