I know that Mark Bittman's No Knead Bread from Jim Lahey's bakery appeared in the NY Times a little over a year ago. I know that every blogger on the planet has already tried this wondrous little recipe. I know I'm a little slow on the uptake when I'm skeptical about a recipe. But then again, what do you expect? I am from the "Show Me" state.
Let's just say I got "shown".
This recipe is great. It's not the bread I want to make every single time I make bread but for an extra bread at the holidays that I can fix and forget with the greatest of ease, or for work stretches, or for times when I want homemade bread but I'm feeling a little under the weather, this is the recipe. But it is not for the patience-impaired since the bread takes just under 24 hours to make. From the article in the Times the key seems to be either kneading or time to make the glutinous fibers build up to make great bread. Most of us choose the work method but in the recipe it uses simply time.
The recipe starts with a simple bowl of globby flour, water, and a very small amount of yeast that sits covered on the counter for 12-18 hours. My kind of lazy. Then the dough is formed, rolled in cornmeal or wheat bran (which I didn't do, by the way) then allowed to rise for a couple of more hours, and baked off.
What the hell, I thought to myself. The furor is over. I'll give it a whirl now and see what happens. What happens is that at Christmas dinner, this bread disappeared before the traditional rolls. Everyone loved it. My cousin Paul smeared it with the braunsweiger pate and when I tried that trick I agreed with him that it beat the hell out of the Triskets that I actually am very fond of.
So my point here is that if you're one of the three people besides me who hasn't tried this recipe, try it. I'll be making it again very soon and quite often just for the fun and to have something a little different but still home-made around the house.