I got a Le Creuset dutch oven over the holidays and since then I've used it five times; twice for no-knead bread. It's dead simple and delicious.
Despite it's simplicity, there were things I didn't do quite right the first time around, so I thought I'd try to do a better job this time, and document it while I was at it.
Probably I still have things not-quite-right (and I'll be happy to hear from you if you have suggested improvements), but perhaps these photos will be of interest to others.
If you're really interested, check out the full recipe from Jim Lahey on the New York Times website.
I generally prefer weights to volume measurements, because they're more precise and I'm lazy (and, ok, I don't have the best measuring cups). Based on a Twitter conversation with Neven Mrgan, I went with 440g flour/340g water. I also made a mess.
I doubled up on the yeast because it's cold in my kitchen. This is a lesson I learned making no-knead pizza dough, also from a Jim Lahey recipe. He's the king of no-knead.
Did I mention it was like 11 p.m.? Sorry some of these pictures are dark. Here's the dry ingredients mixed together:
Once the water's mixed in, you've done almost all of the work this recipe requires of you.
Then I set it aside until I got home from work the next day, roughly 19 hours later. Check out all the bubbles on the top:
My first attempt (and the aforementioned pizza dough mishap) wasn't quite this pockmarked. The dough was sticky and stringy coming out of the bowl, just like in the video with the New York Times article.
In my eagerness the first time around, I actually missed this step, letting it sit, covered for 15 minutes after dishing it out and folding up the corners. Then, into a ball and onto a towel:
I used corn meal this time. In the video, Lahey used wheat bran, but I didn't see any at the store. Last time I just used flour and it was just fine. After two hours:
Hard to tell in the photo, but that is about twice as big. Before it was done rising, put the Le Creuset in the oven and preheated it to 450 degrees. (In the video, Lahey says 500, but the knob on my dutch oven lid is only rated for 480. Fortunately, the actual recipe from NYT gives directions for 450.)
Plop. Cover. Into the oven. (That sucker's hot!)
Already fragrant and pretty after the first 30. Cover comes off for another 15-30 (I did 15, but I probably could have let it go a little longer).
The end result.
Hot out of the oven it made popping/crackling noises, which you should be able to hear on this video.
See the full set of photos on Flickr.