I read about this bread on Coby's blog and I had to try it because it looked so delicious - a serious, no-messing around Italian type of bread (that I am lucky enough to be able to buy for $2 at our local Italian bakery, but still always wanted to be able to make myself!)
After reading Coby's blog entry (in which she provides metric conversions for the recipe) and watching the video link, I started by mixing 410 g bread flour, 1/4 tsp instant yeast, 1 1/4 tsp salt in a bowl, and then added 430 ml cold tap water, stirring it to a soggy dough with a palette knife.
It looks like this, sort of like a thick paste. Cover it and stand it somewhere at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. I left mine for about 16 hours in the pantry, after which it looked like this...
I put it on a tea towel (with baking paper because I thought it might stick to the cloth) covered with plenty of wholemeal flour. Coby uses polenta, or you can use bran. Fold it into some kind of round shape - which is very difficult as it feels like a flour-covered jellyfish - and cover it over for 2 hours to rise.
After 2 hours mine seemed to have spread a little and got a bit bigger, although not in an upward direction!
Half an hour before the end of rising time, set the oven to 230 C and add a big pot with a lid to heat up aswell. I used my 7 litre Scanpan casserole.
Somehow get the dough into the (very hot) pot - I ended up half throwing it in off the paper because it was so soft and blobby - then quickly put the lid on and put it back in the oven. Cook for half an hour.
After half an hour, remove the lid and cook for 15 more minutes. (Longer if you want a crunchier, tougher crust.)
It tastes wonderful, and has a slightly 'gluey' texture which must come from the steaming effect on the dough caused by cooking it in a pot with a lid. I was surprised how soft the loaf was and the crust was not brittle or particularly tough - I assume this would change if you cooked it for longer without the lid.
Hello Belly Bao, Newtown
2 hours ago