First: I mix up the water and yeast. The book says you don’t need to proof the yeast, but I find five minutes makes a huge difference in the rise that I get out of the bread. Then I add in the salt and flour. I mix it all up with my hands, fun! This is what it looks like after the initial rise and after a night in the fridge.
I start the process by putting a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet. I dust the parchment with cornmeal. Then I dust my hands with flour and pull off a large hunk (the size of a small cantaloupe, not a grapefruit like in the book). I don’t usually need a lot of excess flour to shape. I let the dough rise for at least 90min, if not more.
Then I dust the top with flour and slash the dough to form vents. I preheat the oven completely (so to 450) and when it is ready, I get the cup of water to pour in the boiler tray (to make a crispy crust). I slide the parchment/dough off the cookie sheet onto the baking stone, pour in the water, and quickly close the door.