Hi, it's Celia again!
My mom bakes really good bread. Mom makes it a lot, but she always makes it when we have guests because she says "it fills in the cracks". She's very concerned about her guests leaving her table with empty cracks. She's not concerned about us kids having empty cracks. If we're still hungry after dinner she says, "What?! You gotta hollow leg? Go make yourself a peanut butter sandwich."
Well, my grandpa was here and she was making the bread, and she wanted me to help. I told her I would if I could post it on the blog. Surprisingly she said yes. She usually doesn't share recipes. She's sharing this one because it's a famous recipe that Aunt Debbie told her about. But don't ask Mom to share a recipe she came up with. She won't do it. Must be a caterer thing.
You'll need flour, kosher salt, yeast, and warm water. That's it. Mom said you can use regular salt, but use less. And she uses instant yeast.
Use a large container with a lid, or a bowl with saran wrap. Pour 3 cups of warm water in the bowl, then 1 1/2 Tablespoons of yeast and 1 1/2 Tablespoons of salt. Mix it up. Dump in about 6 1/2 cups of flour. Sometimes Mom uses bread flour, sometimes she uses all purpose, and sometimes she'll swap out some of the white for whole wheat. She says she uses whatever she has on hand.
Mix the flour into the liquid with a big spoon. Mom said don't bother using your mixer. It'll take longer to clean the mixer than it does to mix it up by hand. Cover the container (or bowl).
Here's the container mom uses. She doesn't wash it between uses, and the bread gets more and more sour, in a yummy sorta way. She just scrapes all the bits on the side into the water.
After it's covered let it sit for 2 hours on the counter. Here's what it looks like after two hours.
After 2 hours you can take about half the dough and shape it into a boule (Mom pronounces it "bool" because she took French in college, but normal people would call it a "ball") or put the dough in the fridge for up to two weeks.
If you are baking right away, preheat your oven to 450 and then let the bread "rest" for 20 minutes. Slash it with a knife so the crust will expand.
Then bake it for about 30 minutes. If you are refrigerating it, when you are ready to bake let it sit for 45 mins to an hour after shaping it into a boule/bool/ball before you slash and bake. Oh, she also told me to tell you that she uses a baking stone that she sprayed a little Pam on. The bread should be really, really dark when you take it out. Yummy!!