Nothing makes a kitchen feel more inviting than the smell of freshly baked bread, and nothing tastes better than a loaf straight out of the oven. So what are you waiting for?
MAKING A SPONGE
Making a sponge is an additional step to making bread, but it’s not hard. Simply mix together a small amount of water, flour, and yeast and let the mixture sit, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for at least 6 hours.
You’ll know when the sponge is ready to use once it’s fallen. The fall indicates that the yeast is active and ready to go.
Once the sponge has fallen, it can be held up for 24 hours at room temperature before using.
SHAPING A RUSTIC ROUND LOAF
1. After pressing the dough into a square and dimpling it, fold the top and bottom thirds of the dough over the middle like a business letter.
2. Gently lift and tuck the sides underneath.
3. Gently round the dough into a smooth, taut ball. Cup your hands stiffly around the dough and drag it over the counter in a circular motion.