2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon yeast (not quick rise)
1/3 cup sugar or honey
1/4 cup oil (canola)
5 to 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
1 egg, slightly beaten for glaze
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds (optional)
Step one: Place your yeast, sugar, salt, and oil in a large bowl. Add the warm water and stir until yeast and sugar are dissolved. Add 4 cups of flour and mix until well blended. Add flour, a little at a time (you will have to mix with your hands when it becomes too stiff to stir with your spoon) until you have a soft but not wet dough. Knead until dough is smooth. If dough is sticky, add a small amount of flour. Place dough in a greased stoneware or glass (heatproof) bowl. Preheat your oven to it's lowest setting. Cover bowl with plastic wrap (the kind that clings to the bowl - I use stretch tight) and place in the warm oven. Turn the oven Off. Let dough rise until double. This takes about 45 min. to 1 hour.
Now that your dough is double, remove it from the oven and you are ready for the next step.
|gently press into an oblong|
Bring the folded edges to the center, and then pinch the full length of the loaf to make a long loaf.
Place loaf on a greased cookie sheet
Let cool at least 20 to 30 min. before slicing. I always cover it with a tea towel while it cools. If you cut bread when it is too hot, it just compresses and makes the texture rather dough like. Enjoy!