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Stone Age Bread

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Note that this is a two-step process, and you need to make the dough on day one and bake it on day two.

If you are going to make a smaller loaf, cut all the quantities in half and take 5 minutes off the baking time.

You'll also need a little corn meal or wheat bran for dredging.

Stir the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and add the water.

Use a large wooden spoon to stir the mixture together into a dough, then scrape the spoon off, cover the bowl with a large, dampened towel, and set it aside for 12–18 hours. There is no need to knead it at all.

Waiting to rise

Next day, sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper generously with corn meal or wheat bran. If you don't, the bread will surely glue itself to the non-stick parchment and you'll have a job to separate them. Flour your hands, pat the dough lightly and fold it over 4 times, then form it into a ball, and sprinkle it with wheat bran. Leave it under a damp cloth to rest for an hour.

Risen

At this point you have two paths you can follow. This needs to be cooked in a pot with a cover, preferably a nice heavy cast iron Dutch oven or a Römertopf clay pot, but a Pyrex dish with a lid will do in a pinch.

Using a clay pot

I prefer this method because the steam inside the pot makes for a really nice crust, and clean-up is so easy.

Soak the top and bottom in cold water for 15–20 minutes, then lift the dough on the parchment into the pot.

Put the clay pot in a cold oven, set the temperature to 500F, and bake for 55 minutes. You can use a quick-read thermometer inserted through the underside of the loaf to check the temperature has reached 205F. Take the lid off the pot and bake 2 minutes longer to brown the crust.

Cool the loaf on a rack for an hour or so before serving.

Using a Dutch oven

While the dough is resting, pre-heat your oven to 500F, then place the Dutch oven in your oven and leave it there for at least a half hour, so it is at 500F too.

Lift the dough on its parchment paper into the Dutch oven, taking care not to burn yourself on the very hot Dutch oven and lid. Bake with the lid on for 35 minutes, then 5 minutes with the lid off.

Cool the loaf on a rack for an hour or so before serving.

Baked