I sent off an e-mail to Naomi and got her permission to post the recipe if anyone wants to cook along with my bread a week project.
Here we go:
2 and a half cups luke warm water
1 ts dry yeast
2 cups hard whole wheat flour (bread flour)
3 to 3 and a half cups hard unbleached (if you can get it) white flour
1 tbls salt
Scant half ts nigella - if you can find it.
You will need a large bowl and unglazed quarry tiles to fit on the rack of your oven...they work like a pizza stone, but are cheap. Failing that, a cookie tray upside down will work. The tiles are simply clay tiles that are not glazed at all, so they feel a little gritty to the touch. Like those tiles you see on Spanish houses.
Place the water in a large bread bowl, add the yeast, and stir to blend. Add the whole wheat flour and stir well. Then stir 100 tiems, about 1 minute, in the same direction to develop the gluten. Cover this 'sponge' with plastic wrap - or put it in a grocery store bag and close it up and let it stand for 30 minutes to 3 hours. I like to put it on the back of the fridge, a little warmer and less likely to get spilt.
Sprinkle salt over the sponge, then add 1 cup of the white flour and stir well. Continue adding white flour half a cup at a time and stirring until the dough is too stiff to turn. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead thoroughly, sprinkling more flour on if it gets sticky (this time of year, when it is so humid, I needed to do this a lot, the flour was damp and didn't absorb the same way). After you turn the dough out, put your bowl to soak in the sink. It is thoroughly kneaded when it is smooth and easy to handle, maybe about 10 minutes. Rock your body as you knead rather than push with your arms. Much more comfortable.
Clean out the bowl, and oil lightly. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap - or put it back in the grocery store bag, and let it rise for 2 or 3 hours, until more than doubled in volume.
Gently push down the dough and turn onto a lighty floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape each into a flat oval shape approximately 6 inches wide by 8 inches long. Cover with plastic wrap (or those grocery bags inside out...no icky ink) and let rise for approximately 20 minutes.
Place quarry tiles (or your upside down cookie sheet) on the bottom rack of your oven, leaving a 1 inch space between the tiles and the oven walls to allow air to circulate. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Five minutes after the oven has reached 450F, begin shaping the first bread. Place a small bowl full of cold water at the edge of your work surface. Dip your fingertips in the water and then, beginning at one end of the disc of dough, make tightly spaced indentations all over the surface of the dough so that it is deeply and uniformly pitted. Now, with wet hands, stretch the dough into a long oval strip by draping it over both hands and pulling them gently apart. Attractive stretch marks will form where the dimples are, hence the name snowshoe bread. There may be a few holes in the bread, do not worry about that, it will be slightly crisper in those areas.
Place the bread back on a work surface and sprinkle with a scant 1/8 ts of nigella. Then, using both (wet) hands place the bread on the heated quarry tiles, and bake for about 4 minutes until the bread has golden patches on the top and a crusty browned bottom surface. While the bread bakes, shape the next bread.
To keep the breads warm and soft, let cool for 5 min and then wrap them in a cotton coth. Serve warm or at room temp.
Post a pic if you make it? I'll link to you, m'kay?