In my quest to learn how to make bread that doesn't come out of a bread machine, and doesn't take all day to make, I have stumbled across this most excellent recipe for No-Knead Bread. Yes- this bread requires no kneading whatsoever, and pretty much no work on your part. And as you can see, it produces a wonderfully crispy and tasty bread.
You simply mix up a few ingredients (about 3 minutes of your time), let the dough sit for 12-20 hours, and then plop (literally) into a pan and bake. Couldn't be easier! (And so perfect for the more lazier-inclined of us!) The secret is in the waiting: slow fermentation produces far superior results, and so is preferable (really, it is just an added bonus that you don't have to do any work, either.)
There are a couple of versions of this recipe out there, so I am including links to a few of my favorites. I really like the YouTube Video, because you can get a good feel for what the dough should like at each stage. One of the things I realized after watching the video was that my dough was not moist enough, and I needed to add more water. When you are letting the dough ferment slowly, the dough can be much moister than a quicker-fermenting dough can be. The video also recommends a higher baking temperature than the Steamy Kitchen recipe, and that worked well for me- but play around with your oven and see what works for you.
Now I can bake two loaves of the most heavenly bread each day with only about 10 minutes or so of my time. How cool is that??!!
Steamy Kitchen Recipe: No-Knead Bread that Even a 6-Year Old Can Make
YouTube Video: Easy Crusty Bread
NY Times Article: The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work
Shameless Plug: The bread in the photo is resting on one of my husband's hand-crafted cutting boards. They make great bread boards, and are made from sustainable wood. You can check them out at The Greater Green.