|3||cups||flour, all-purpose||or bread flour, more for dusting|
|1/4||teaspoon||yeast, active dry||instant|
In a large bowl mix together flour, yeast and salt.
Stir in 1 5/8 cups water until well blended, dough will be shaggy and sticky.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.
Allow dough to rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.
When its surface is dotted with bubbles, the dough is ready.
Lightly flour a work surface and remove the dough on it.
Sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball.
Generously coat a cotton towel with flour, cornmeal, put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, or cornmeal.
Cover with another cotton towel and allow to rise for about 2 hours.
When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees.
Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats.
When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven .
Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up, it may look like a mess, but that is perfectly fine.
Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed, it will straighten out as it bakes.
Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned.
Remove from the oven and transfer on a wire rack.
Let cool on the wire rack.
First published: 2011-04-27 last updated: 2014-01-23
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