1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/4 cup water
1-1.5 tbs salt
2 tbs olive oil
3+ cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 375ºF
Add warm water (warm that you can keep you hand in it, but warmer than lukewarm) to a Kitchenaid mixer (or your mixter). Whisk in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes.
Once the yeast has bloomed, add 2 cups of the flour and turn on the mixer with the dough hook. Add in the salt and olive oil, then start adding the rest of the flour, a little bit at a time. I stop when the yeast pulls off the bottom of the bowl at medium speed.
Let the dough knead in the mixer by running it for 10-15 minutes on medium-high speed. This replaces hand-kneading for 30 minutes (unless you want a workout - my forearms are sore after kneading!).
Grease a bowl with olive oil and turn the dough out into the bowl. Coat the dough in the olive oil in the bowl and cover with a cloth and put on the stove-top of the preheated oven. The heat from the oven helps the dough to rise.
Let rise for 1.5hrs at which time it will be BIG. Punch it down and let rise again for 1 hr.
Turn out dough onto a floured surface. Cut into two balls and put onto a cornmealed or floured baking sheet. Let the balls rise again for 1 hr.
Score the top of each loaf - I use a serated steak knife, but I'm sure almost any knife will work.
Put in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Antonia and I really like this bread because, like all of our home-made breads, there are no preservatives - this lets all of the flavors of the ingredients come through. The olive oil gives the bread a great flavor, and the salt sets of the yeasty flavor perfectly.