2 3/4 c Lukewarm water; 110-115 deg. 2 ts Salt
2 pk Active dry yeast 1/4 c Olive oil
pn Sugar 1 c Cornmeal; or flour
8 c All purpose flour
Pour 1/4 cup of lukewarm water into a small bowl and sprinkle it
with the yeast and sugar. Let the mixture rest for 2 or 3 minutes,
then stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Set the bowl in a warm,
draft free place (such as a turned off oven) for 5 minutes, or until
the mixture doubles in volume.
In a deep bowl, combine the flour and salt, make a well in the
center, and pour in the yeast mixture, the olive oil and 2 cups of
Gently stir the center ingredients together, then incorporate the
flour and continue to beat until the ingredients are well combined.
Add up to 1/2 cup more lukewarm water, beating it in a tablespoon at
a time, and using as much as necessary to from a dough that can be
gathered into a compact ball. If the dough is difficult to stir, work
in the water with your fingers.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead by pressing
it down, pushing it forward several times with the heel of your hand
and folding it back on itself. Repeat for 20 minutes, or until the
dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place
it in a lightly oiled bowl. Drape loosely with a towel and set aside
in the warm place for 45 minutes, or until the dough doubles in bulk.
Punch it down with a blow of your fist and divide it into 8 equal
pieces. Roll each piece into a ball about 2 1/2 inches in diameter,
cover the balls with a towel and let them rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees (F). Sprinkle 2 large baking
sheets with 1/2 cup of the cornmeal or flour. On a lightly floured
surface, roll 4 of the balls into round loaves each about 8 inches in
diameter and no more than 1/8 inch thick. Arrange them 2 to 3 inches
apart on the baking sheets, cover with towels and allow them to rest
for 30 minutes. If you have a gas oven, bake the bread on the flour
of the oven for 5 minutes, then transfer the loaves to a shelf 3 or 4
inches above the oven floor and continue baking for 5 minutes, or
until they puff up in the center and are a delicate brown. If your
oven is electric, bake the bread on the lowest shelf for 5 minutes,
then raise it 3 or 4 inches and continue baking until the breads are
puffed and browned.
Remove the bread from the baking sheets, wrap each loaf in foil,
and set aside for 10 minutes. Sprinkle the pans with the remaining
1/2 cup of cornmeal or flour and bake the remaining 4 loaves of bread
in a similar fashion.
When the loaves are unwrapped the tops will have fallen and there
will be a shallow pocket of air in their centers. Serve warm or at
28 of 116
8 rd. loaves