This has quickly become one of my favorite breads to make. It is easy and very yummy with soup or salad. Without further ado...
6 1/2 cups flour (I use about 5 cups of freshly milled wheat and rye flours, and the rest bread flour)
3 cups lukewarm water (maybe a tad more if you are having trouble incorporating all the flour)
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt (just plain table salt)
1. Mix everything together well in a bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a non-sealing lid. Let sit out on the counter for 2-3 hours.
2. Divide dough in half. At this point, I usually refrigerate half of the dough to use a couple days later.
3. Take the rest of the dough and place it in a well-oiled plastic bowl. Loosely cover again.
4. Now get a round cast-iron pot, or a corningware pot, or a small crockpot (one that you can remove from the base of the crockpot!)-- your just looking for a heavy-duty, oven-ready pot with a lid. I have been using a corningware round casserole dish (probably 1.5 quart size??) with great success and no issues with the dough sticking. Place the empty pot and lid in the oven, and turn the oven to 450 degrees. Led it preheat for a good 20 minutes.
5. When the dough has slightly risen again and everything has preheated, dump the dough into the pot, and put the lid back on the pot. If your pot is hot enough, you will hear the dough start to sizzle as soon as you dump it in. (If you don't hear it, then you need to preheat your pot longer next time.) Bake for 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until done. Let cool before cutting. This produces a nice artisan-style bread with a crisp crust. Enjoy!!!
(If you are baking dough that you have had in the fridge, let it sit out at room temperature for a couple hours before moving on to step 3.)