The author of Taste of Beirut suggested I look into this very interesting bread that requires minimal kneading and rises inside a vat of water. I was pretty sure it would work, but wanted to know more details, so I looked for a few more sources.
I found a source that had pretty detailed step-by-step photographs, i.e. Bread Experience.
Anyhow, I'm going to share my experience with the Floating Loaf.
2 Cups AP Flour
1/2 Cup Spelt Flour
1 Cup + a little more luke warm water
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tsp Coarse Sea Salt
2 Tsp Brown Sugar
5.5 g Baker's Yeast
Corn Meal (for sprinkling on the oven paper)
Step 1: Mix all dry ingredients except for the sesame seeds.
Step 2: Add 1 cup water and mix and add more water if you think it needs more. The dough should be pretty wet and sticky but you should be able to make a ball with it.
Step 3: Roll in flour.
Step 4: Put the ball of dough into a vat of water. I used tap water, but if the water is heavily chlorinated in your area, I would let the water sit in the vat for a day to let chlorine evaporate a bit. Wait until the ball of dough floats to the surface. In my case, it took 8 minutes for this to happen, but the time can vary.
Step 5: Now knead it a bit on a floured surface and then put it on top of oven paper that you have sprinkled with corn meal. Cover it with a tea cloth/dish towel and let it rise for another 15-20 minutes or so. When it has risen, wet it with your fingers (fingers will warm the water a bit) and then sprinkle the sesame seeds on top. I used a brush during winter once and my loaf caved in. It's going to be baked anyway so why worry about fingers touching the dough?
Step 6: Preheat the oven to 220C (425F).
Step 7: The oven should be pre-heated by the time the bread rises so slide it onto the hot baking tray inside the oven and bake it for 20-30 minutes or until it is golden brown. I baked mine for 30 minutes.
We had aged Manchego cheese with fresh basil and rosemary inspired by Jana's display from Jana Around the World , green Spanish olives, and Cannellini Bean Spread from Steamy Kitchen with our freshly baked loaf of bread. It was a pretty nice lunch.
The beauty of this loaf is that the cooking time is relatively short. You can basically make freshly baked bread in around 60 minutes.