As requested, here’s my version of Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread. A trick I recently learned from Hank Sawtelle on Culinate.com is to lift and flip the dough once or twice during the rising, which creates a nice open crumb and bigger holes.
Adapted from Jim Lahey, Sullivan Street Bakery Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising
4 cups bread flour (very important to use bread flour – don’t use all-purpose it won’t rise properly), more for dusting (I use 3 cups whole wheat bread flour – shepherd’s grain is the best but Bob’s red mill is fine too and 1 cup white bread flour but experiment with other ratios and other types of flour—rye, fine cornmeal, etc.) you might start with more white than that as you get started with it but it’s totally up to you, your taste. . .
1 teaspoon rapid rise yeast (it has to be rapid rise/instant for this recipe)
1 generous Tbs salt if you’re using kosher salt which I do
extra flour, cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.
1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 2 cups luke warm water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with towel or plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, or up to 18, at room temperature.
2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and knead it gently for a minute. Cover loosely with towel and let rest about 15 minutes.
3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.
4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 500 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.