from Heather at girlichef
adapted from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads
5-6 cups of bread flour
2 packages dry yeast, I used quick rise
1 tablespoon salt- I used 2 teaspoons
2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups hot water- I just used hot water from the faucet
sesame or poppy seed for top, optional
cornmeal for the baking sheet
1. Place 4 cups of bread flour in a large mixing bowl and add the yeast, salt and sugar. Stir until blended. Pour in the hot water and beat 100 strokes by hand, or about 3 minutes with a mixer.
2. Gradually work in the rest of the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. I ended up using almost 5 1/2 cups.
3. Sprinkle your work surface with flour, and work in the flour as you knead by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. OR, or beat with a dough hook of mixer until smooth.
4. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot until double in bulk -15 to 25 minutes.
5. Punch dough down and turn the dough out on work surface. Cut in half. Shape each piece into a round and place on baking sheet that has been dusted with cornmeal.
6. Take a sharp knife or razor and slash an X on each loaf. Mist with water and then sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds.
7. Place baking sheet in cold oven on the middle rack. Place a pan of hot water on the lower shelf of oven. Turn oven on to 400 degrees F (205 C). The bread will rise while the oven heats.
8.Bake for about 50 minutes, until the loaves are golden and bottom crusts sound hard and hollow when thumped. Cool the loaves on a wire rack a bit before slicing. Enjoy!