By far my favorite bread to make at home is the no-knead overnight artisan bread (and its many variations), and the wholewheat loaf. The classic overnight artisan bread boule is baked in a dutch oven, simply meaning a heavy metal oven-safe pot and lid. This stone baked bread uses exactly the same recipe as the artisan, but is just baked differently. The result was very different.
First off, the loaf was indeed baked on a very hot pizza stone in a very hot oven. But the real secret for an amazing outcome is placing a metal dish on the shelf under the stone, then pouring boiling hot water onto the searing hot dish to create a steam that will yield the most incredible crust. The crust becomes thin, light , and crispy brown, whereas the inside is much lighter than the dutch oven version, which is actually dense, and has many more air bubbles. If you are a regular baker of the artisan overnight bread, and happen to own a pizza stone, this bread is a must-try.
3 cups flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.
Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours. Overnight works great.
Heat oven to 450F with pizza stone on the middle shelf, and a metal baking dish on the shelf just under.
Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into about an 11 inch log.
Place log onto a parchment sheet, cut three or four shallow slits on the surface, and let rest for 45 minutes (during which time the oven is blazing).
After the resting time, carefully place the parchment carrying the loaf onto the searing hot pizza stone, and carefully pour a cup of boiling hot water into the metal dish beneath the stone.
Be careful as this will spit and splutter and can be dangerous if not handles properly.
Immediately close the oven door to seal in the steam and let bake for 45 minutes.
Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.
Slice only when completely cool.
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