I've been attempting decent yeast bread for years, and all it takes is one expensive pot to finally accomplish this baking feat. My freshman year roommate (someone who's coolness I didn't appreciate until we were a little older) heard via Facebook that I had procured a Dutch oven. She recommended I try out this recipe from the Sullivan Street Bakery, printed in the New York Times. I had heard of the recipe before by its promise to be pretty-much foolproof. No kneading involved, just lots and lots of waiting. And I think we can easily deduce that if I can do it, then it is fool proof.
No-knead Bread:3 cups flour
1 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 5/8 cups hot water
Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Stir in the water with a wooden spoon until blended. (The water should be pretty hot if you don't have instant yeast.) Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 12 to 18 hours (yeah, long time). After 12 to 18 hours the dough should have some small holes in it, this means it's ready to be turned out on a well-floured surface and folded on itself twice. Form dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for 15 minutes. Generously sprinkle two cotton towels with flour (or cornmeal or bran). Work dough in a ball and cover it with the towels. Let rise for two hours. Preheat oven to 450. About 30 minutes before baking the bread, put your cast iron or other fireproof pot in the oven. Remove pot from oven just before baking. Turn risen dough into the pot (being careful not to burn yourself), bake it for 30 minutes with the lid on. Take the dough out of the oven and remove the lid. Replace in oven and bake for another 15 to 30 minutes. Bread is finished when it is golden brown.