Believe it or not, I made this . . .
I have been meaning to write about Jim Lahey's no-knead bread for some months, but now he has put out a book describing the method in beautifully illustrated detail, so my task is different. Lahey, who founded and runs the Sullivan Street Bakery, invented a virtually fool-proof method for baking crusty and delicious bread.
Essentially, you (i) mix together flour, water, salt and a tiny amount of yeast into a pretty sloppy mess, (ii) put it in a bowl for 12-18 (or more) hours until it more than doubles in volume, (iii) turn it out, fold it and place it on (and covered by) a dusted kitchen towel for about 2 hours, and (iv) bake it in a pre-heated very hot dutch oven, covered, for 30 minutes and then uncovered for 15-30 more minutes. Active work is about five minutes, although the process takes nearly a day.
. . . and this.
I have made this bread several times and it really is great. There is a huge amount of discussion on the Internet among the large community of bread bakers, including lots of useful insight and variations. Now, though, Lahey has put out My Bread, a lovely book that tells you everything you want to know about his method, and gives recipes for many breads using the same (or a similar) method, including whole wheat loaves, ciabatta, baguettes, flavored breads and pizza. I highly recommend this book. Pictured above and below are my first and tries based on Lahey's actual recipe from the book. The second is a really fantastic loaf of bread, crusty with just the right amount of bitterness.