Baking bread in a cast iron skillet is a formidable kitchen trick. A healthy dusting of cornmeal on the bottom of the skillet ensures easy extraction after baking.
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1 package active dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
5 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
How to Make It
In the bowl of a mixer, stir together the yeast, water and honey. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the butter, then add the flour, cornmeal, and 1 tablespoon salt to the bowl. Beat the dough with a paddle attachment until it no longer sticks to the edge of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
Generously flour a work surface, then turn the dough out on the work surface. Lightly flour the bowl. Turn the outer edges of the dough up and into the center, working around the dough to form a ball. Place the dough, seam-side-down in the bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Generously flour a work surface, then turn the dough out on the work surface. Generously sprinkle cornmeal over the bottom of a 10-inch cast iron or non-stick-oven-proof skillet. Turn the outer edges of the dough up and into the center, working around the dough to form a ball. Place the dough, seam-side-down in the skillet, cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until it fills the skillet, about 1 hour.
Brush the dough with the remaining 1 tablespoon of the butter then, with a razor blade or very sharp knife, slice an X in the dough.
Bake the dough until golden and hollow-sounding when tapped, about 1 hour. Let cool in the skillet 20 minutes, the run a knife around the edge and remove the bread. Let cool completely before serving.
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