El Pan de Fer
- 7 ¾ cups white all-purpose flour (unbleached if possible; however, the regular kind works)
- One packet of quick-acting dried baking yeast (or if you're a real pro, one tablespoon of sourdough starter)
- 1 1/3 teaspoons Kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Water: (720 g) or 3 ⅛ cups
- Dutch oven
- Large bowl
- Baking scale (optional but helpful)
- Bread proofing basket
In a large bowl, place your flour and run your sink tap till the water gets fairly warm. When you feel like the water is just at the point where it begins to scald, measure the water quantity, and place it into the bowl with the flour. Allow for the water to sit just long enough not to be uncomfortably hot and mix with your hands. At this point, the dough will be rather sticky to your hands and hard to work with. Once the water is fully incorporated, leave the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes. Once you've let your water and flour mixture sit, add the yeast package, and salt. Combine vigorously by hand. Fold over the flour in a clockwise motion always keeping it inside the mixing bowl. Work the flour till you feel the salt and yeast have been fully hydrated and you can no longer feel any clumps of dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl add a teaspoon of olive oil and fully coat the inside of the bowl. Transfer your bread dough into the bowl with olive oil and cover it with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm area of the kitchen (best if placed somewhere with direct sunlight) and allow it to rise for a minimum of 4 hours (overnight is ideal). Once it has risen for the appropriate amount of time, take the dough out of the bowl and place it onto a heavily floured surface. Morph the dough into a soft round shape and cut it in half (this recipe will yield two loaves of bread). Once again round one of the dough halves and place it into your heavily floured proofing basket. Allow for the dough to proof in the basket for a minimum of 1 hour. Place your empty Dutch oven into the oven and preheat to 475 degrees and allow for the Dutch oven to warm up for 50 minutes. We want the Dutch oven to get as hot as possible before we place our dough into it. Open your warm Dutch oven and place your dough straight from the proofing basket, being as careful and gentle as possible. Close the lid and allow to bake for 30 minutes, and an extra 17 minutes without the lid of the Dutch oven. Repeat with the second loaf.