- 1 cup "fed" sourdough starter (active and bubbly, any variety is fine)
- 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Combine all of the ingredients, kneading to form a smooth dough.
- Allow the dough to rise, in a lightly greased, covered bowl, until it's doubled in size, about 90 minutes.
- Gently divide the dough in half; it'll deflate somewhat.
- Gently shape the dough into two oval loaves; or, for longer loaves, two 10" to 11" logs. Place the loaves on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover and let rise until very puffy, about 1 hour. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Spray the loaves with lukewarm water.
- Make two fairly deep diagonal slashes in each; a serrated bread knife, wielded firmly, works well here.
- Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes, until it's a very deep golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and cool on a rack.
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