Step 2: Make the dough (skip if you buy your dough, read if you're curious)
I won't take credit for this dough recipe. Google "5 minute artisan bread" for the recipe that inspired this instructable. Again, this dough needs a little time in the fridge to "age." I find that after a week, the dough takes on a wonderful sourdough quality and the texture at least equals some of the best pies I've had. Anyway, on to the dough:
1. 6 cups flour
2. 3 cups warm water (temp. about 115 degrees F) Add some olive oil or other vegetable oil to the water (2-3 Tablespoons). Standard vegetable oil is fine. Use Extra Virgin Olive Oil for a little more flavor. Optional: Replace a half-cup or so of the water with milk. It makes for a more tender crust without sacrificing texture
3. 1 tbsp kosher salt (coarse sea salt is good too. If you're using table salt, reduce by half (not positive, but it sounds about right).
4. 1 1/2 tbsp instant dry yeast (I buy yeast in a big bag, so I don't know how many of those packets this translates to)
5. In a large bowl, mix water, oil (optional: milk), yeast, and salt. Add flour and stir. You may find that mixing it with wet hands is easier than stirring. I don't recommend breaking out the mixer for this, as it doesn't have to be kneaded. You'll be making a mess for only a few minutes' work.
This is a very wet dough, so it will not form into a ball. It should not be liquid, though. It should be sticky, but able to stand in lump without slumping into the sides of the bowl. If it's too dry (forms a tight ball), add a little water and massage it into the dough with wet hands until it loosens up. It is not necessary to knead the dough if you can leave it in the fridge overnite or for a few days.
6. Cover lightly (not airtight: use plastic wrap). Stick it in the fridge for 2 hours before using. For best results, make this a day ahead and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Or let it sit in the fridge for a few days. It will keep for more than a week, and the longer it sits, the more flavor and chewiness (gluten) it develops. The slower rise in the fridge prevents the gluten from breaking down as the action of the yeast expands it. I have had very good success with this: it has a less "fluffy" texture than rising at room temp.