I finally got fed up enough with the outrageous price of fresh bread in bakeries. Erich is a sucker for Firehook's bread in particular. But we consider it a luxury that we rarely indulge in.
However, over the past several weeks, I've been following the RealityTour of no-knead bread making, partially based on a recipe in the New York Times that I had actually bookmarked MONTHS ago. His successful experiments were very inspiring!
So last weekend, I picked up some yeast and got down to business. Unfortunately, after letting it rise for about 16 hours, I decided to read through the rest of the recipe and suddenly remembered why it was I had never tried the recipe before - it requires a cast-iron pot w/ lid or dutch oven. Neither of which live in my kitchen. Doh! So about 2 hours before the dough was supposed to be moved to such a vessel, I started frantically researching for alternative containers.
Results were a little inconclusive, but deep within this site I found a couple of reader comments from people who had improvised using oven-safe pots and mismatching lids (in one case, it was simply an inverted oven-safe bowl. So I plunged ahead with renewed confidence in my spaghetti pot and metal lid (Calphalon says its oven-safe up to 450).
However, not wanting to be left out, I had Erich pick up an inexpensive enamel-coated, cast-iron dutch oven from a big-box store during his errands later that day. A dutch oven has been on my wish list for quite a long time, but their expense was always a deterrent. But then I read some encouraging reviews of the Lodge products and I decided that I probably won't cook with it often enough to even warrant a pricey version.
I got to try her out this afternoon for a 2nd loaf of bread and the results are yummy! Besides the container, the only modification I made was to shorten the time it bakes without the lid. Makes the crust a little more manageable - last week's loaf sounded a bit like a hockey puck as I turned it out onto the cooling rack. It seems like the cast-iron pot helped the loaf puff up a little more in the middle which is plus in my book.