This article by Mark Bittman first introduced Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery and his No-Knead Bread. The technique took the world by storm. Everyone was trying it and it might really be the one recipe that has been tried and tested by amateur and professional bakers alike.
I've seen the recipe on several blogs, but hadn't tried it until today. It was simple and easy and as Jim Lahey says, even a 6 year old can do it. You can watch his video here, and the recipe as published in the New York Times here.
Thank you Bharti for your post and photographs and for finally inspiring me to try this. I loved the crust and crumb. The only thing I'd change is to add more salt next time. I might reduce the yeast too, since the Indian summer is really hot and the dough needed a longer rising time. I loved it though and will definitely make it often.
3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Instant Yeast
1 1/2 cups Water + 2 tbsp
1/2 cup Semolina or Cornmeal
Mix the flour, salt and yeast together. Add the water and bring it together loosely. It will look like a shaggy mess but as long as its holding together, you're fine. Cover and let it rise for about 12 hours. The dough's risen enough when tiny bubbles cover the surface.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and very gently fold it over itself a couple of times. Cover with a plastic wrap and allow to rest for 20 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a loose ball. Place on a rough towel (but not a terry towel) sprinkled generously with semolina. Sprinkle semolina on top of the dough as well (be generous - this keeps the dough from getting too sticky).
Cover with another towel and let rise for about 2 hours. About a half-hour before the dough has fully risen, preheat the oven to 220 deg C. Make sure you heat the baking pan (use a 6-8 quart heavy pan - I used a Corningware bowl with glass lid) with the oven, so that its really hot when you finally put the dough in it.
When the dough has doubled in volume, quickly transfer it into the hot pan and cover with a lid or aluminium foil. Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on and then a further 20-30 minutes uncovered.
Remove from oven and let it cool for about 10-15 minutes.
The crust actually crackled! And there were lovely big holes in the crumb. It was, in short, gorgeous!