Step 1: Prepare the dough
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt.
2. Add water and stir until just blended; the dough will be shaggy and sticky.
3. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 18 hours at warm room temperature.
Step 2: Finish the dough
4. The dough is ready when the surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it.
5. Dust the top of the dough with a little more flour and fold it over itself two or four times.
6. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.
Step 3: Shape the bread
7. Gently shape dough into a ball.
8. Generously coat a cotton towel with flour and cornmeal.
9. Place the dough seam side down on the towel and dust with more flour and cornmeal.
10. Fold towel over dough and let rise for 2 hours, it will double in size.
Step 4: Bake the bread
11. Half hour before the dough is ready, heat the oven to 450°F.
12. Put a 6-8 litre heavy covered pot (enamel, cast iron, or ceramic) in the oven as it heats.
13. When the dough is ready carefully take the pot from the oven, remove lid and turn the dough into the pot with the seam side up. At this point it may look a bit rough, give the pan a shake if the dough is uneven. This dough is very forgiving and will sort itself out when it bakes.
14. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes, remove the lid and bake for an additional 20 minutes, until the loaf is perfectly browned.
15. Remove from pot and cool on rack.
Jennifer Sands, Executive Sous Chef