Ugly is a term of endearment here, as well as a reference to the free-form shape of the dough. An extra rising gives this bread a wonderfully coarse texture.
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornmeal
How to Make It
Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, milk, oil, and salt to yeast mixture; stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent the dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Press two fingers into dough. If the indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half.
Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying), shape each portion into a 6-inch oval on a floured surface. Cover with a slightly damp towel; let rise 20 minutes (dough will not double in size).
Working with one portion at a time, stretch each portion into a 15-inch-long loaf (loaf will be flat); place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with a slightly damp towel; let rise 30 minutes (dough will not double in size). Lightly dust each loaf with flour.
Preheat oven to 425°.
Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until loaves are browned on bottom and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; cool on wire racks.
I have made this many times, and will make it again for Thanksgiving this year. It makes 2 loaves and is wonderful. Just the way I like my bread, crusty on the outside, and light & airy in the middle. Makes the house smell great, but it does take time. Always worth it though, and I'm not a home bread maker.