Really, I shouldn’t be so excited about this bread, but I am. It’s not the ease of preparation, as I find kneading to be a soothing activity and there are a few tricky steps in making this bread that are a bit more annoying than regular bread. Rather, it’s the super crispy crust, tender, moist interior and just plain how nice and plump this bread gets. It’s a bit lacking in flavor, but for an “everyday” bread, it does just fine.
No knead bread is simple to throw together. The sticky dough is a big sourdough starter that you bake and eat, instead of nurturing it along to develop the flavor. To make it, combine 3 c of bread flour with 1/4 t instant yeast, 1 1/4 t salt and just over 1 1/2 c water. Mix with a spoon until blended; the dough will be very sticky and you will not want to knead it. Cover, and leave for a day or so.
After about 20 hours, the dough should be quite a bit larger, and the top will be bubbly. Flour your counter and hands and dump the dough out. Fold it over a few times, just enough to knead out the big air bubbles. Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes.
With will floured hands, shape your loaf. The edges should be tucked under repeatedly so the top domes up and stretches the dough, but this is especially difficult to do with this wet, limp dough, so form it as best as you can. Then plop the loaf onto one half of a towel which has been liberally sprinkled with cornmeal. Scatter more cornmeal on the top of the loaf and fold the towel over it.
After about 1.5 to 2 hours, the loaf should be risen. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees with a cast iron dutch oven inside. The cast iron should be steaming hot. It’s not necessary to preheat the lid, but it is necessary that your dutch oven has a lid. Once the oven is hot, carefully dump the dough into the oven using the towel. Don’t worry if your loaf doesn’t land perfectly – carefully shake the dutch oven around until it slides to the middle.
Bake the loaf, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncovered for about 30 minutes more. Enjoy your crusty loaf of bread!