That’s all it takes to make the crackly-crusted, chewy, light-textured, DELICIOUS bread pictured above. Grab a handful of chilled dough, plop it onto a piece of parchment. Which we print here courtesy of Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François, authors of the runaway best-seller Let’s get stirring!
Note to eagle-eyed scale-users: Assuming a weight of 4 1/4 ounces per cup of King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, 7 1/2 cups will weigh 31 5/8 ounces. If you have a stand mixer, beat at medium speed with the beater blade for 30 to 60 seconds.
If you don’t have a mixer, just stir-stir-stir with a big spoon or dough whisk till everything is combined. If you’ve made the dough in a plastic bucket, you’re all set – just let it stay there, covering the bucket with a lid or plastic wrap; a shower cap actually works well here.
If you’ve made the dough in a bowl that’s not at least 6-quart capacity, transfer it to a large bowl; it’s going to rise a lot.
There’s no need to grease the bowl, though you can if you like; it makes it a bit easier to get the dough out when it’s time to bake bread.
Cover the bowl or bucket, and let the dough rise at room temperature for 2 hours. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or for up to about 7 days.
(If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the initial room-temperature rise, and stick it right into the fridge).
Over the course of the first day or so in the fridge, it’ll rise, then fall. The longer you keep the dough chilled, the tangier it’ll get; if you chill it for 7 days, it will taste like sourdough.
If you measure it the way we do here at King Arthur – the method all of our recipes are written for – you’ll use 7 1/2 cups.
If you don’t have a scale, the amount your use depends on how you measure flour.