Keep in mind that less handling after rising has started, the better the flavor. My first loaf was good, but after I read up a bit on proper dough handling, the flavor increased tenfold - it went from good to great bread.
Bring the ingredients together and let sit for 15 minutes before you knead to hydrate and relax. After 15, knead like crazy until smooth like a baby's bottom. Coat with oil, place in a bowl, cover and let rise until doubled.
INSTEAD OF KNEADING THE LIVING TAR OUT OF THE DOUGH, gently but firmly smoosh the dough out, fold in thirds and press with your palm, fold in thirds and press, fold in thirds and press. Form a ball, coat, cover, and let rise again. Divide into two or three loaves (we prefer two larger loaves), fold and press again and shape for final rise.
Score the loaves, spritz 'em with water, and slide 'em on into the oven. Pour some water into a preheated pan under the loaves for steam and quickly shut the door (no need for opening and spritzing!). A baking stone REALLY helps with the crust texture. I also love using those perforated "professional" loaf pans (sans cornmeal, of course).
Better handling DOES equal better flavor! The difference is amazing!!!
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Keep in mind that less handling after rising has started, the better the...