- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- Mix the water and yeast in a large bowl and allow to stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt. Stir to form a very wet, shaggy dough. Make sure all the flour has been incorporated; the dough should feel sticky to the touch.
- Cover the bowl and set it somewhere warm and away from kitchen traffic for 12 to 18 hours. After rising, the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days if you don’t have time to bake it right away.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Dust your hands with flour. Starting with the edge nearest you, lift up the dough and fold it over on itself. Next, pick up the edge furthest from you and fold it over the dough as well. Repeat with the edges to the left and right. The dough should hold together in a neat package. Sprinkle the top generously with flour and cover with a clean cotton dishtowel. Let the dough rise until doubled, about 2 hours (slightly longer if chilled from the fridge).
- When you see that the dough has almost finish rising, place a 3 1/2-quart (or larger) Dutch oven or heavy pot with oven-safe lid in the oven and heat the oven to 475°F.
- To bake the bread, very carefully remove the pot from the oven with oven mitts and remove the lid. Dust your hands with flour and scoop the dough from the counter. It’s ok if it sticks; a bench scraper can help transfer the dough. Drop the dough seams down into the Dutch oven. Be careful to avoid touching the hot sides of the pot with your hands.
- Cover the pot and return it to the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue baking for another 15 to 30 minutes, until the loaf turns a deep golden brown. Don’t be afraid to let it get really deep brown in spots. If you’re unsure if it has finished baking, you can also check that the internal temperature is 200°F on an instant-read thermometer.
- Remove the loaf from the Dutch oven with heat-proof spatulas and potholders. Transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Wait to slice until the loaf has cooled to room temperature.