While reading Posie's blog one day (her blog is the first one I check when I make my rounds), I spied a recipe for bread baked in a Dutch oven. Wanting to find another job for Clifford the Big Red Pot, I followed the link to this recipe for Easy, No-knead Crusty Bread and found this resistible loaf. I loved the idea of mixing the dough and letting it sit for 8-18 hours, with no kneading required whatsoever.
Undoubtedly the simplest bread I've ever made, it did require a little advanced planning to get the timing down. What I discovered is that if I start it the day before, late in the afternoon or after dinner, it is ready to be baked just in time for dinner the next day.
You simply stir a 1/4 teaspoon of yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt into 1 1/2 cups warm water. Then you mix in 3 cups of flour to form a very soft, wet dough. That is covered with plastic wrap and left to sit in a warmish place (I put mine on top of the fridge) for a looooong time, 8 hours up to 18 hours, till it is nice a bubbly. You dump it on a flour covered counter and form a ball, then flop in onto a flour covered dish towel and let it rise for a couple hours. That is just plopped into the HOT Dutch oven and baked at 475 for 30 minutes with the lid on. The lid is removed and it bakes another 15 minutes. The moist environment inside the Dutch oven creates the perfect moist loaf with the perfect crust.
It is simply divine.
Highly, highly recommended.