There’s a “no-knead” bread recipe that’s been floating around out there for quite some time, and while I’ve noted it, I’ve never taken the time to try it, until the other day. There’s a good write-up here, but I’ll simplify a bit. You’re going to need some sort of oven-safe container with a lid. I happen to have an enameled cast iron Dutch oven, but anything big enough should work fine, like a Pyrex.
Basically, you’re mixing 3 cups of flour, 2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of yeast in a bowl. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and stir to combine. The dough’s gonna be really sticky. Cover the bowl and set aside for at least 12 hours, they say, unrefrigerated. In spite of what the food safety police may say, it won’t kill you to leave it out overnight. I mixed the dough the night before and baked it when I got home from work.
Preheat your oven to 450 F. The website above tells you to wait until the oven reaches 450, then put your baking vessel in for 30 minutes to heat up, but that seemed kinda overkill to me. I put mine in as soon as I turned the oven on, and left it in for about 20 minutes. It was plenty hot enough.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured surface. It’s still gonna be really sticky, and will adhere to anything that’s not floured. Form it into a loose ball, and let rest for another 20-30 minutes (while the baking vessel is heating). Remove your vessel from the oven, and plop the dough inside. Put the lid back on and return to the oven – don’t forget that the lid will be approximately 450 degrees, so don’t try to pick it up without protection! Bake for 30 minutes, then remove.
I have to say, it turned out pretty sweet. Nice crust, chewy, moist inside. And for the least amount of effort I’ve ever expended on making bread. I think I may be a convert. The nice thing about this is that you can customize it by adding all kinds of different mix-ins. Rosemary-olive or sun-dried tomato-basil-Parmesan sounds good.