Simple Bread

*These are not "exact" recipes, but "inspired" by these episodes

This recipe, inspired by so many different ingredients from all over the world, is one that you should be able to create with local ingredients.  


4.5 -5 cups of unbleached flour (plus extra for dusting the board and sprinkling on top of dough)

1 Tbs sugar

1 1/4 tsp of instant yeast

2 1/2 tsp of salt

1 1/2 cups of lukewarm water

1-2 tsp of vegetable oil (for coating the dough).

cornmeal for coating the bottom of the baking pan

Other Equipment:  

cast iron or oven safe container, 2-3 cups of boiled water for the baking process, a sieve to sprinkle four on top of the raw dough before baking) 


In a large mixing bowl, combine 4-4/5 cups of flour, the sugar, years, salt and water.  Mix together with a wooden spoon, or use a stand mixer. Once the dough comes together in one mass, use some of the extra flour and dust the surface where you will continue to knead the dough.  Pour the dough onto the floured surface and gently roll the dough into a ball, using the palms of your hands to press the dough, then rolling the dough back until it becomes a "ball" of dough.  You will notice how the dough will start to come together and lose some of its wetness.  If necessary, add more flour to the surface as the dough will absorb that flour during the kneading process.  Continue this repetitive action of kneading the dough for about 5-7 minutes. After the kneading process, the dough should become round and smooth. Place that dough ball in a bowl (ceramic or glass), lightly coat with some vegetable oil. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap in a warm part of the kitchen for 1-2 hours. The dough will be very puffed up after this time.  Punch the dough to "flatten" it.  Then divide the dough in half.  Separate the dough and begin to shape the individual loaf by flattening the dough to the size and shape of a piece of paper.  When it's flattened, you'll want to gather the top part of the paper shaped dough and fold to the center and then fold the bottom part of the paper shaped dough towards the center as well. Imitate how one folds paper for an envelope.  Dust the dough with a little flour.  Then taking that "folded" dough, shape the bread into a loaf, gently rolling it in a proper shape into an 8-10 inch log. Repeat the same process for the other loaf.  When the loaf is shaped, place these loaf on a flour or cornmeal dusted baking pan.  Allow this to rest for about 40 minutes to 1 hour on the pan.  During that time, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  To create a "steam" effect in your oven, heat a cast iron or oven safe pan and place it in your oven's lowest rack and prepare 2-3 cups of boiling water. But set aside until you're ready to bake.  You'll know the dough is ready if you press the dough with your finger and the dimple from your finger imprint slowly retracts.  Now that your dough is ready, sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough (use a sieve if possible), and cut 3-4 diagonal slits into the dough.  Carefully pour the hot water into the pan on the lowest rack, which will automatically create steam, and then immediately place the pan with the dough into the oven, above the hot water.  Bake for 25 minutes and then turn off the oven.  Allow the dough to remain in the oven for another 5 minutes.  Afterwards, carefully remove the dough and allow to rest for another 10 minutes before cutting and serving.