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2 3/4cups650ml water
5teaspoonsor 2 packets14g active dry yeast
7cups900 grams bread flour
1/4cup60ml olive oil, preferably extra virgin
Cornmeal for sprinkling baking sheet
Sprinkle the yeast over slightly warm (95 degree) water in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir lightly. Let sit for 10 minutes.
Measure the flour, and place in the bowl of a kitchen mixer with a dough hook attached. If making by hand, place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
Turn on the mixer, add salt to the flour, and allow to mix. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the flour as the mixer is running. If making by hand, use a whisk.
Slowly drizzle in the yeast and water mixture. Allow the dough to knead by machine for 4 minutes.
If making by hand, combine the flour with the yeast and water mixture using a wooden spoon, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
After kneading, you should have a smooth, springy dough that bounces back lightly when pressed with your finger. Check the texture of the dough during the kneading process. If the dough is sticky, add up to 1/2 cup additional flour.
Cover the dough in the bowl with waxed paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray, then with a kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour or until doubled.
Knead the risen dough by hand on a floured surface for about a minute to remove air. Form the dough into 2 equal-size balls, and place on a 15-inch baking sheet that has been sprinkled liberally with cornmeal.
Cover the loaves again with waxed paper and a kitchen towel, and let rise a second time for 20-25 minutes or until doubled. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Bake the loaves for 23-25 minutes or until browned. Bake 5 minutes longer for a crisper crust.
If you use all-purpose flour, reduce water to 2 1/2 cups.