DIY Wreath Bread (VIDEO)
In a large measuring cup, combine 1 3/4 cups warm water (100˚F) and 1/2 tsp molasses and stir to dissolve.
In a large mixing bowl, add 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 1/3 cups bread flour, 2 tsp salt, and 1 1/4 tsp yeast, whisking until combined. Add water-molasses mixture and stir with spatula until it comes together. Knead by hand 4 min. Dough should be soft and sticky to the touch but won't stick to clean fingertips. If dough is too sticky, add flour 1 Tbsp at a time (I usually add 2-3 Tbsp extra flour while kneading).
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temp (69˚F - 75˚F) 4 hours. Every hour, punch down dough with wet hand and fold it onto itself a few times.
After the 4 hours of rising time, punch down dough one last time and pinch it in the center to divide into two even pieces. Generously dust 2 pieces of parchment paper with flour. Place dough on parchment, turning it to coat in flour. Poke a hole in the center of each the dough piece and stretch dough into a ring 5-6" diameter in the center and 9-10" diameter on the outside. Let the rings rest on parchment at room temp 30 min.
Meanwhile, place an upside-down large baking sheet in the center of your oven with a cast iron or broiler pan** set to one side of the bottom rack. With pans in place, preheat oven to 450˚F.
Sprinkle the top of dough ring with flour. Holding scissors at a 45˚ angle to the parchment paper, cut deep slits into the dough about 1 1/2" apart, pulling the points away from the ring as you cut them. Rotate the parchment paper as you slice to maintain correct cutting angle.
Transfer 1 ring (with the parchment paper) to the preheated oven onto the hot baking sheet and immediately pour 1 cup ice cubes into the hot cast iron pan below (be careful not to drip on glass surfaces!). Bake at 450˚F for 20 min or until top is golden brown. Repeat step 7 with second ring.
*To measure flour correctly, spoon into a dry ingredients measuring cup and level the top with the blunt edge of a knife.
**CAUTION: Do not use glass or ceramic on the bottom rack - you will add ice cubes once the pan is fully preheated which can cause glass to shatter.