3 cups (1 1/2 pounds/680 grams) lukewarm water (you can use cold water, but it will take the dough longer to rise. Just don’t use hot water or you may kill the yeast)
1 tablespoon granulated yeast ( you can use any kind of yeast including products labeled as instant, “quick,” rapid rise, bread machine, active dry, or even fresh cake yeast (which isn’t granulated)*. You can also decrease the amount of yeast in the recipe by following the directions here. Or you can bake with a sour dough starter, see instructions here.)
1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons Morton Kosher Salt (adjust to suit your taste or eliminate it all together.))
6 1/2 cups (2 pounds/910 grams) all-purpose flour (the recipe’s tested with typical supermarket flour. If you use a higher protein flour check here)
Mixing the dough:
In a 5 or 6 quart bowl or lidded dough bucket (the lid is sold separately), dump in the water, and add the yeast and salt.
Because we are mixing in the flour so quickly it doesn’t matter that the salt and yeast are thrown in together.
Dump in the flour all at once and stir with a long handled wooden spoon or a Danish Dough Whisk which is one of the tools that makes the job so much easier!
Stir it until all of the flour is incorporated into the dough, as you can see it will be a wet rough dough.
Put the lid on the container, but do not snap it shut. You want the gases from the yeast to escape. (you can put a little hole in the top of the lid so that you can close the lid and still allow the gases to get out. As you can see it doesn’t take much of a hole to accomplish this.)
Allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 2 hours to rise. When you first mix the dough it will not occupy much of the container.
But, after the initial 2 hour rise it will pretty much fill it. (If you have decreased the yeast you will have to let it go longer than 2 hours.) DO NOT PUNCH DOWN THE DOUGH! Just let it settle by itself.
The dough will be flat on the top and some of the bubbles may even appear to be popping. (If you intend to refrigerate the dough after this stage it can be placed in the refrigerator even if the dough is not perfectly flat. The yeast will continue to work even in the refrigerator.) The dough can be used right after the initial 2 hour rise, but it is much easier to handle when it is chilled. It is intended for refrigeration and use over the next two weeks, ready for you anytime. For the first two days of storage, be sure to leave the lid open a crack, to allow gasses to escape. After that, you can usually snap down the lid on plastic contains without problems, because they’re usually not entirely airtight. BUT, DON’T SEAL GLASS CONTAINERS OR THEY MIGHT SHATTER. The flavor will deepen over that time, developing sourdough characteristics.
The next day when you pull the dough out of the refrigerator you will notice that it has collapsed and this is totally normal for our dough. It will never rise up again in the container.
Dust the surface of the dough with a little flour, just enough to prevent it from sticking to your hands when you reach in to pull a piece out.
You should notice that the dough has a lot of stretch once it has rested. (If your dough breaks off instead of stretching like this your