- In a large pot, combine the flour, salt and yeast. Add the water. Mix with a fork until the flour is completely moistened, but not necessarily smooth. Cover and let rise at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.
- In a large bowl, combine the ingredients. Set aside.
- With your hands, directly in the pot, push down the risen dough to deflate it and fold it onto itself about 6 times or until smooth.
- Transfer the dough into the bowl with the wheat flour and cornmeal and turn to coat the entire surface with the mixture. Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes or until the dough has doubled in volume.
- Meanwhile, with the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 450 °F (225 °C). Place a 12-cup (3 litre) Dutch oven or ovenproof pot with its lid (not glass) in the oven, and let heat for about 30 minutes.
- Remove the pot’s lid. Drop the floured dough in the centre of the pot. Cover and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes.
- Let cool the bread on a wire rack or in the pot. Remove any excess flour.
You can replace the coating with 1/3 cup (75 ml) of whole-wheat flour. This bread will keep well for 2 to 3 days. If needed, heat the loaf in the oven for 5 minutes to restore its crunchy crust.
This recipe is inspired by the bread recipe created by baker Jim Lahey and presented by food writer Mark Bittman in the New York Times.