Submitted by David Kester — for more information about this revolutionary method for making bread, see the New York Times article from November 8, 2006: “THE MINIMALIST; The Secret of Great Bread: Let Time Do the Work,” by Mark Bittman.
3 C flour
1 t salt
1/4 t yeast
Stir dry ingredients together. Add 12 oz water and let rise for about 18 hours (this is flexible — I let mine rise for over 20 hours). Form the dough into a simple ball (fold the four corners into the center) and allow to rise for another hour. Meanwhile, place a dutch oven (a heavy, oven-proof pot with a lid) in the oven and preheat oven and pan to 450 F. Place the dough ball in the hot pot (it’s OK if it’s kind of soft and runny), cover, and bake 30 min. Remove lid and cook 15 minutes with the lid off.
March 2014 update:
This is still my favorite bread recipe, but when Barry cut the last loaf, he said the crust was actually too hard. We’ve ordered a small silicone mat to put in the bottom of our pan, and we’ll see if that makes it bake more evenly.
Speaking of our baking pan, since we are living aboard a boat now, instead of a Dutch oven, we are baking the bread in a heavy cast-iron skillet with a stainless-steel mixing bowl over it as a lid. It works great.