3 cups water
1 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp yeast
8? cups flour (to feel)
bake 500 degrees for about 25 minutes (till golden)
Add salt and yeast to water. Wait a few minutes for the yeast to soak up water and become fuzzy. Whisk together. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and whisk in. (any more flour and it sticks to the whisk)
Slowly add more flour, mixing with large wooden spoon or spatula.
After about 6 cups flour, transfer to a cutting board covered with a thin layer of flour.
Adding flour as necessary to prevent the dough from sticking to hands and board, knead on cutting board until the dough sticks to the hand, but doesn't come off on the hand. This change is not just due to adding flour, but also due to the kneading.
Put in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and rise for many hours. When it gets big, punch it down.
6-10 hours seemed to work well here, at 75 degrees. Maybe 24 hours at 50 degrees (which is a popular temperature - good for making the dough sour). I often combine some time in the fridge and some time at room temperature. But don't let it rise too long, or it won't rise in the oven.
Grease 2 cookie sheets.
Put flour on cutting board.
Put dough on cutting board. Add flour as necessary to handle.
Cut dough into two pieces, one for each sheet. Put one piece back in bowl.
Cut dough into pieces and shape them into loaves. 3 baguettes per sheet works well. 2 rounder loaves works as well. For baguettes, roll them out on the cutting board.
Let rise another half hour.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees with a pan of water on the lower rack. (Steam is important for the crust. Other people spray the walls with water or put ice cubes on the floor of the oven.)
Put in cookie sheets.
After 15 minutes, rotate the cookie sheets. I often pull out the water at this point, if the oven isn't big enough
Remove from oven when golden, about 10 more minutes.
Cool on racks for at least 5 minutes.