If you think that making bread is complicated, fear no more. I long lived with that wrong idea in my mind, that yes, I can do it, but it will be long, complicated and require a lot of kneading and so it is just so much easier to go to a bakery and get some fresh bread.
Well, most of the time it is. Unless you live in a place where the bread standard is set high (what can compare to a genuine French baguette?), but the local bakery is closed on Sunday? And on that same Sunday you are throwing a party, serving lots of sauces that just love the bread to be dipped in it and cheese which is just so much better with bread? Or if you go on holidays to Provence, rent a house with a beautiful view and a fig tree, but it takes 20 minutes one way to get to the closest bakery?
So it turns out, there is a fantastic recipe for a crusty, fluffy bread, which at the same time is very easy and requires NO kneading. It does however require some planning because you need to let the yeast work for several hours. So unfortunately it is not a quick fix if you forgot to buy bread for your next meal, but it certainly is an easy fix if you plan ahead!
Place flour, salt and yeast in a big bowl and whisk to make sure the ingredients are well mixed.
Stir in the water using a wooden spoon. A thick, chunky dough will form in less than a minute. Do not overwork it. It will look weird and you will doubt me whether it will work, but the results are guaranteed.
Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Place an empty cast iron pot, or if you don’t have one, an oven – safe dish that you want to bake your bread it. A metal pot will do as well. Makes sure to have a lid that can go with it into the oven. Let it heat for around 30 minutes.
Dump the dough on a floured surface and shape it into a bowl (no kneading!). Cover with plastic foil.
When the pot is hot, take it out of the oven (carefully!) and place a piece of baking paper on its bottom. Dump in the dough. Sprinkle with seeds if you like. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.
Remove the cover and bake for another 15 minutes.
Take out and let it cool down, ideally on a grill.
It is wonderful for dipping in sauces, or just with olive oil and salt.