This is easy to make but it needs a bit of planning and time to do correctly (it should be started the day/night before you intend to bake it). There isn’t much to it, but it’s a great tasting, easy and fun bread to bake that then goes with anything. We had it alongside a Parsnip Soup with a salad. It originally comes from Mark Bittman in NYTimes Cooking, but was passed along to us by a friend. And it cooks in a dutch oven or cast iron pot, which is pretty cool.
For a single loaf you’ll need: x1 cup whole wheat flour, x2 cups white flour, 1 tsp active dry yeast, x1-1/2 cup warm water, 1-1/4 tsp salt and a small amount of canola or other vegetable oil.
Combine all of the dry ingredients (flours, yeast and salt) in a large bowl. Add in the warm (above room temp but not hot) water and mix well with a wooden spoon. It’ll be a shaggy mess, but make sure all of the dry ingredients get formed into a well-mixed, wet ball. Use your hands if you need to. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for at least 18 hours.
Once the dough has doubled in size and has small bubbles on the surface, flour a work surface and your hands and remove it from the bowl – saving the plastic wrap. Flatten it slightly using your floured hands and fold it back onto itself two times, once from each side like a letter. Turn it over and loosely cover with the saved plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes.
While you wait, find x2 clean, cotton hand towels (not terry cloth) and place one down on your work surface and lightly dust it with flour.
Once again lightly flour your hands and the surface you’re using and gently fold the dough into a ball, pulling the two ends into the center. Place the ball, seam-side down, onto the floured cotton towel. Lightly dust the top of the ball with flour and cover it with the second cotton towel. Let stand in a warm place for another 2 hours.
At least 30 minutes before baking, preheat your oven to 450. Place a medium sized cast iron pot or dutch oven into the oven while it is preheating. Carefully remove the pot once the oven is fully preheated – and using a paper towel and being very careful with the hot pot – rub a little oil along the bottom and sides of the pot.
Remove the top towel, pick up your flour ball from underneath the bottom towel and gently turn it over into the heated, oiled pot – seam-side up. Shake the pot a bit to distribute and center the ball, put a lid on the pot and place into the preheated oven. Bake for 30 mins. Then remove the lid and bake for a further 10-20 minutes until golden on top.
Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack before serving.