This recipe is courtesy of Smucker’s.
- Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave overnight at room temperature. Stir to collapse it.
- Combine yeast sponge with 1 cup (250 mL) flour and the rest of the ingredients in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Beat at high speed while adding enough of the remaining flour to make a smooth, stretchy dough. Remove from bowl and knead on a floured surface, adding flour if necessary.
- Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Remove from bowl and place on a floured surface to punch down. Divide dough in half and shape into round loaves.
- Put the loaves on a cookie sheet lined with parchment, cover with a tea towel, and allow to rise till nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Gently cut grooves in the tops with a sharp knife, taking care not to collapse the dough, then sprinkle with flour.
- Preheat oven to 230°C (450°F). Carefully set a pan of boiling water on a rack at the bottom of the oven. Place cookie sheet with loaves on a rack over pan of water. The steam will make the bread crusty.
- Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 180°C (350°F) and continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes or until internal temperature of bread reaches 88°C (190°F). Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
This bread freezes really well, so feel free to make extra.