Combine flour, yeast, salt, and sugar* in a large bowl. Stir in water until it’s well combined. (Should be slightly soft and even on the wet side.) *If you are wishing to branch out with some flavors, this is where you would add the dry herbs/spices in with the dry ingredients. This allows the flavors to merry throughout bringing the greatest flavors.
Cover your bowl with plastic wrap, tightly, and let stand at room temperature for 3 hours. Depending on the flour and water and on the temperature, you may need to let your dough sit longer. Longer is not bad, I have gone as long as 4 ½ hours before. (This just starts to change taste and textures.
After 3 hours, your dough will become puffy and dotted with bubbles. Transfer (dump out/ scrape out) your dough to a well-floured surface (this is your ¼ cup extra flour – you can use more or less, what ever you feel you need), and sprinkle dough with a little flour. Using a scraper, fold dough over 10-12 times and shape into a rough ball.
If you don’t have a scraper, use a spatula or your hands, just make sure that you have floured this item EACH TIME YOU FOLD. Otherwise you will have sticking. Learned that the hard way!!
Place dough ball in a sprayed parchment paper-lined bowl, (I do a quick wash of my mixing bowl that the dough was in before), and cover with a towel. Let stand on the countertop for about 35 minutes.
A helpful hint is to spray down your parchment paper with baking spray so that the bread does not bake into the paper (as much).
Meantime, place a Dutch Oven with lid in a COLD oven and preheat to 450°F. Depending on how long it takes for your oven to get reach 450°, a good basis is 35 minutes.
When your oven reaches 450°, CAREFULLY, using oven gloves, take off the lid, lift the parchment paper and dough from the bowl and place gently into the hot pot (parchment paper goes into the pot too), recover the pot with the lid and BAKE for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, remove lid and continue baking uncovered for 10-15 minutes more.
Pull from oven, remove bread from Dutch oven and peel off parchment paper. Allow bread to cool before cutting.