One of my favorite classes in culinary school was Breads and Rolls. I loved making fresh bread and actually had a sourdough starter that I kept “alive” and used for many months. This is an easy bread recipe that uses active dry yeast instead of a starter and bakes in a dry Dutch oven pot. The dough needs to rise overnight at room temperature, with a second rise of two hours before baking. Baking bread is a very satisfying accomplishment, and makes your kitchen smell heavenly. Give it a try!
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast. Add the 2 1/4 cups of warm water. Stir with your hands until a sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough rise at room temperature overnight or up to 24 hours.
On a floured surface, punch the dough down and shape it into a flat circular disk. Fold all four edges in toward the center and turn the dough so the smooth side is up. Sprinkle with flour, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise again at room temperature for 2 hours.
Place a 4-to-6 quart cast-iron Dutch oven in a cold oven. Pre-heat the oven with the pot in it, to 500 degrees. While the oven is pre-heating, sprinkle the top of the dough generously with cornmeal. Using a large spatula, turn the dough over and sprinkle the other side with the remaining cornmeal.
Carefully, place the dough in the pre-heated Dutch oven. Use a wooden spoon to push the dough down into the corners of the pot. Cover the pot and bake the bread for 30 minutes. Uncover the pot and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack. This recipe makes a 2 pound loaf of bread.