Recipe adapted from and with thanks to Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day
1 1/2cupslukewarm water
1 1/2cupslukewarm milk
1 1/2tablespoonsyeastI used active dry yeast
5tablespoonslight olive oil
6 2/3cupswhole wheat flourI used freshly ground hard white wheat
Day One: Mix all ingredients except the flour in a large bowl or a lidded (not airtight) storage container. I use a plastic shoebox size container with a lid that simply clicks on and off. If you do not have a lid that is NOT airtight, you can drill or cut a small hole in the lid and vent it that way.
Next, add in the flour and stir until combined. Let this rest on the counter, covered, in the non-airtight container, for approximately 2-3 hours. The dough should rise and then collapse (flatten on top). Store this dough in the refrigerator for 2-5 days.
On Baking Day: Lightly flour a baking sheet or pizza stone and set aside. Wet your hands first and then remove a 1/3 portion of your dough. It will be very sticky and wetting your hands makes it much easier to handle. Keeping your hands wet, quickly shape the dough into a ball and stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all sides, rotate the ball as you go around it shaping the dough.
Place the dough (folded ends tucked underneath) on a pizza peel (or directly on your baking sheet if you do not have one). Allow it to rise for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Flour the top of the loaf and slash, using the tip of a serrated knife.
Twenty minutes before it's time to make the bread, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an empty broiler tray on the lowest shelf of the oven. I keep a baking pan in the oven that I use just for this purpose. If your dough is rising on a pizza peel, put the stoneware in the oven now to heat.
Transfer your dough from the peel to the stone that is now hot in the oven. If your bread is rising on a baking sheet already, simply place the baking sheet in the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot water into the broiler tray (or pan) in the bottom of the water. Quickly close the oven door. This is essential for breads with a cracked crust. The steam from the water creates the lovely crust.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until deeply browned and firm. Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing.