This recipe originally called for whole germ white flour (unavailable here); a mix of flours, white whole wheat and all-purpose unbleached, works too.
- 2 (7-gram) packages active dry yeast
- 2 tsp. light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp. sea salt
- 3 cups quality unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 3⁄4 cups white whole wheat flour
- Dissolve yeast and sugar together in 2 1⁄4 cups warm water in a small bowl and set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a large bowl with 1 tsp. of the oil and set aside. Combine flours and salt in another large bowl, add yeast mixture, and stir until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about 15 minutes. Shape dough into a ball and transfer to prepared bowl. Cover bowl with a clean damp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to let dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1⁄2 hours.
- Grease two 6-cup loaf pans with 1 tsp. of the oil; set aside. Turn dough out onto a clean surface, knead in remaining oil, then divide in half. Shape each piece of dough into an oval and put into prepared pans, smooth side up. Dust loaves with flour, then score tops lengthwise down center of each loaf. Cover pans with a clean damp kitchen towel and set aside in a warm spot to let dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1-1 1⁄2 hours.
- Move one of the oven racks to center of oven and another rack to lower third of oven. Put a small pan of water on lower rack. Preheat oven to 475°. Bake loaves on center rack. until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped, 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside briefly, then tip loaves out of pans onto a cooling rack to cool completely.