1 1/2cupsWater - hotNo more than 130 degrees farenheit
Seive flour and then measure 3 cups. Take a big bowl, add flour. Add yeast, salt and mix it with a spatula.
Heat water in a microwave or on gas. Don't heat it more than 130 degrees Farenheit. Use a thermometer to check the water temperature, if you have one. It took me about 1 minute 30 seconds in the microwave to heat water up to 120 degrees.
Add water to the above flour and mix well with a spatula or a big spoon. The dough would be gooey. But that is ok as you don't need to touch it with hand and spatula will do the job. Mix well for a couple of minutes until the dough comes together, and form it into a ball. Cover it with a plastic wrap, and top it with a kitchen towel. Leave it on the kitchen counter for proofing for at least 3 hours. I kept it for 3 hours, you can keep it more if you like. Since we have used little yeast, the dough will not rise much. That is ok.
When the dough is proofed, ie. rested for 3 hours, transfer to a well-floured surface and fold it for about 10-12 times. Form it into a ball.
For baking, you can use either a dutch oven or any oven-safe utensil with a lid. I did not have a dutch oven so I used a oven-safe utensil. Line the utensil with parchment paper if you have. Dust some flour on top of it, place the dough on top. Dust some more flour on top of the dough (purely for aesthetics :) ). You can make marks with a knife if you like - this step is called scoring. Per thekitchn.com, scoring is the technical term for slashing bread dough before baking with a sharp knife or lame. Slashing creates weak spots in the bread's crust, allowing for expansion instead of burst seams.
Pre-heat oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit. If using the dutch oven, you can place the empty dutch oven in the oven to pre-heat as well. If using a regular container, you can skip that step. Place a different oven-safe container filled with water at the lower part of the oven (the original recipe did not have this step. It's optional. I feel this step gives the bread a nice crust). Once the oven is heated, place the bread vessel with the lid on, in the oven. Let it bake covered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove the lid and continue baking. At this point, I removed the container filled with water. Be very careful when doing so. You can also leave it till the end.
Bake for another 30-45 minutes. The original recipe called for about 15 minutes of uncovered baking. I kept it for about 30-45 minutes as I felt my bread wasn't cooked from inside within 15 minutes. You will have to check to see if your bread is done. If not, keep it longer.
Once done, take it out from the oven. Once cooled down, slice the bread. Enjoy!