The original recipe was consolidated from articles on Serious Eats describing The Workhorse Loaf
YIELD: Makes 2 large (850g) loaves
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour
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%
- 1% if using fresh;
- 0.5% if using active dry yeast;
- 0.4% if using instant
- Measure out the flour into a large bowl.
- Measure out the water into a 2 cup measuring cup.
- Pour most of the water into the mixer’s mixing bowl reserving about 3/8” of water for proofing yeast.
- Pour the yeast into the water in the measuring cup and stir.
- 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).
- Let the autolyze rest, uncovered, for 30 minutes to an hour.
- 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.
- Beware. Cranking on a dough hook with dough and water in the bowl will splash everywhere and make a mess.
- You need to cover the top of the bowl or manually incorporate the water and yeast solution before turning on the mixer.
- 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.
- Grease that large bowl you used to measure the flour (or spray it with Pam).
- Grease your hands and gently transfer dough, being careful not to tear its surface, to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
- Let dough stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Uncover dough and fold it in half, being careful not to compress it too much.
- Re-cover with plastic wrap and let stand until dough has increased in volume by half, about 1 hour 30 minutes longer.
- Transfer dough in one piece to a lightly floured work surface.
- Using a knife, divide dough in half and shape each portion into a ball.
- Dust the tops of the dough balls with flour, cover with a towel, and let rest for 15 minutes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Refrigerate dough balls or store in a cool place until dough has nearly doubled in size, about 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes.
- 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).
- Remove 1 loaf from the refrigerator and gently turn it out, seam-side down, into the preheated Dutch oven.
- With a razor or paring knife, score the full surface of the dough with 2 parallel lines roughly 3 inches apart.
- With a spray bottle filled with water, lightly spritz the surface of the dough.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
- Lower oven temperature to 450°F and bake for 15 minutes longer.
- Uncover and bake until crust is dark brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Transfer loaf to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 1 hour before slicing.
- Return Dutch oven to oven, and reheat at 500°F for 10 minutes. Then repeat with the remaining ball of dough.