I have a love/hate relationship with homemade bread . There is nothing quite like homemade bread - the smell as it bakes, the fresh taste of a just-baked loaf. But I hate, hate , hate kneading dough. I just really hate the mess that it makes in the kitchen (and on me), and I have no patience for the time that it takes. So when I saw this recipe for no-knead bread I knew that I had to try it. And I'm really glad that I did! It was so easy, and the results were fantastic! Everybody who tasted it raved about how good it was. I will definitely be making this often!
I did make a couple small changes: I did not have instant yeast, so I used an equal amount of active dry yeast that I dissolved in the water for 5 minutes before adding the flour and salt. Also, when I mixed everything together, the dough was a bit dry (I don't know if it was because of the weather or because I used a different brand of flour) so I added an extra 1/4 cup or so of warm water to make a wet dough.
I let mine rise for 5 days.
Plop the sticky dough onto a floured work surface, and round it into a ball or a longer log. Don't fuss around trying to make it perfect; just do the best you can.
Place the dough on a piece of parchment parchment paper (if you're going to use a baking stone), or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Sift a light coating of flour over the top; this will help keep the dough moist as it rests before baking.
Let the dough rise for about 45 to 60 minutes. It won't appear to rise upwards that much; rather, it'll seem to settle and expand. Preheat your oven (and baking stone, if you're using one) to 450F while the dough rests. Place a shallow pan on the lowest oven rack, and have 1 cup of hot water ready to go.
When you're ready to bake, take a sharp knife and slash the bread 2 or 3 times, making a cut about 1/2-inch deep. The bread may deflate a bit; that's okay. It'll pick right up in the hot oven.
Place the bread in the oven, and carefully pour the cup of hot water into the shallow pan on the rack beneath. It'll bubble and steam; close the oven door quickly.
Bake the bread for 25 to 35 minutes, until it's a deep, golden brown.
Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Store leftover bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.
3 to 4 loaves.