I've been kicking myself for a while now for taking so long to get into the whole "no knead" bread phenomenon. I had read about it for ages, but never bothered to give it a try, figuring it would either be too much hassle or not worth the effort...WRONG. It is every bit as wonderful as everyone says it is.
When I was in baking school we had deck ovens with a button that would flood the oven with intense steam and provide that shiny, crackly crust on our breads. At home, I could never duplicate it. I've tried brushing the dough with water and a pastry brush, or quickly spritzing it with a spray bottle in the oven...it never compared.
...Until a couple months ago when they printed a version of Jim Lahey's No Knead Bread in the Vancouver Sun. I read it through, and went for it. It was amazing...it couldn't have been any easier or tasted any better. I had the giggles when I pulled it out of the oven and it made that crackly pop noise I hadn't heard since baking school.
I received Jim Lahey's new book for Christmas and made his Pane Intergrale (a partially whole wheat verison) yesterday. It was gone instantly. Find the recipe here.