In a large bowl mix flour, yeast and salt. Add malt or honey and start adding water ¼ cup at a time. NOTE: You might not use all the water.
Once you see the dough starts to come together place it on a floured surface and knead using your hands for about 10 minutes, until it doesn’t stick to the hands anymore. It should be smooth and elastic and have a silky look. NOTE: The whole process can be done using a standing mixer with a dough hook.
Rub a large bowl with extra virgin olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise at room temperature for 50 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
Turn the bowl upside down over a floured surface and let the dough slide out. NOTE: At this point you can decide to make one large loaf or two smaller ones. In case of the latter divide the dough in two equal parts and proceed with the next steps.
Press it gently to a square shape. Fold the edges into the center. Then fold again sealing it well. Turn the dough smooth side up work in a circular motion to perfect the round shape of the bread.
Place a kitchen towel in the bowl where the dough was rising, sprinkle it lightly with flour. Place pagnotta in the bowl sealed side up.
Cover with kitchen towel and let rise for another 20 minutes or until doubled in size.
Transfer pagnotta rough sealed side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Bake in a preheated to 400F oven for 25-45 minutes (depending on the size of the loaves). NOTE: Remember to place an oven-safe (usually metal) bowl with water in the lower part of the oven to create steam.
Sieve flour AFTER measuring.
Pagnotta - Italian Round Bread https://www.italianrecipebook.com/pagnotta-italian-round-bread/