Oven Bread Loaves

The original recipe was consolidated from articles on Serious Eats describing The Workhorse Loaf

YIELD: Makes 2 large (850g) loaves
TOTAL TIME: About 5 hours


  • 1000 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 700 grams room-temperature water, divided if using active dry yeast
  • 22 grams salt
  • Yeast (either):
    • 4 grams instant yeast (about half a packet),
    • 5 grams active dry yeast,
    • or 10 grams fresh yeast
  • Vegetable, canola, or other neutral oil, for greasing

Ingredients By percentage

  • All Purpose Flour: 100%
  • Water: 70%
  • Salt: 2.2%
  • Yeast:
    • 1% if using fresh;
    • 0.5% if using active dry yeast;
    • 0.4% if using instant


  1. Measure out the flour into a large bowl.
  2. Measure out the water into a 2 cup measuring cup.
  3. Pour most of the water into the mixer’s mixing bowl reserving about 3/8” of water for proofing yeast.
  4. Pour the yeast into the water in the measuring cup and stir.
  5. Pour the flour into the mixer’s mixing bowl and use the dough hook on low to mix the flour and water (This isn’t dough, yet. It is called autolyze).
  6. Let the autolyze rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes to an hour.
  7. Uncover the autolyze and add the salt and yeast solution and mix on low until salt and yeast are fully incorporated and dough is smooth.
    1. Beware.  Cranking on a dough hook with dough and water in the bowl will splash everywhere and make a mess.
    2. You need to cover the top of the bowl or manually incorporate the water and yeast solution before turning on the mixer.
  8. Turn stand mixer up to medium-high speed and mix until the dough feels elastic and bounces partway back when indented with your thumb, about 3-5 minutes.
  9. Grease that large bowl you used to measure the flour (or spray it with Pam).
  10. Grease your hands and gently transfer dough, being careful not to tear its surface, to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  11. Let dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  12. Uncover dough and fold it in half, being careful not to compress it too much.
  13. Re-cover with plastic wrap and let stand until dough has increased in volume by half, about 1 hour 30 minutes longer.
  14. Transfer dough in one piece to a lightly floured work surface.
  15. Using a knife, divide dough in half and shape each portion into a ball.
  16. Dust the tops of the dough balls with flour, cover with a towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  17. Shape the dough into rounds once again, folding the dough under itself to create a smooth surface with a seam on the bottom. Let dough rest on the work surface, seam-side down, for 5 minutes.
  18. Transfer each dough ball, seam-side up, to a bowl or basket lined with a lightly floured linen cloth or plain, not-fuzzy kitchen towel.
  19. Refrigerate dough balls or store in a cool place until dough has nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
  20. Meanwhile, set a Dutch oven on the oven’s bottom rack and preheat oven to 500°F (if your oven has a convection setting, do not use it).
  21. Remove 1 loaf from the refrigerator and gently turn it out, seam-side down, into the preheated Dutch oven.
  22. With a razor or paring knife, score the full surface of the dough with 2 parallel lines roughly 3 inches apart.
  23. With a spray bottle filled with water, lightly spritz the surface of the dough.
  24. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
  25. Lower oven temperature to 450°F and bake for 15 minutes longer.
  26. Uncover and bake until crust is dark brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  27. Transfer loaf to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.
  28. Return Dutch oven to oven, and reheat at 500°F for 10 minutes. Then repeat with the remaining ball of dough.
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