When I was on a bread making course recently, one of the other particpants was raving about how he used a variation of the method to make fail-safe and fantastic pizza dough.
Dom, at Belleau Kitchen, one of my favourite blog crushes swears by an 'almost no knead' method - similar to the one the pizza maker was swearing by, and to top it all, I made some amazing 'Cardigan Bay Buns', quickly followed by a loaf of white bread all using a low knead method whereby you mix the ingredients together, then knead for no more than 10 seconds 3-4 times over a 40 minute period, then leave to prove.
Easy, and great bread, but it turns out there is a further refinement- or perhaps it's less refinement, more back to basics - a 'completely no knead' method of making bread, which not only involves absolutely no kneading, but also a rather neat and dinky method of baking, 'dutch oven style' - in a heavy, cast iron casserole which appealed to my inner-desire to break conventions in a not very rebellious way at all. Rock & roll.
Anyway, no knead it is, and makes life very much easier. You literally stir together your usual bread ingredients, cover and leave for 12 hours, then shape the loavf and leave to prove for another 1-2 hours before baking in a dutch oven/covered cast iron dish. I've started making up the dough early evening and leaving overnight, then forming the dough when I get up (ish - I don't want to give a picture of early morning efficiency) before baking once I've got back from taking the kids to school and walking to dog. The timings work just right. I've made this with strong white and wholemeal flour and it works with both. In fact, the wholemeal loaf was certainly the best looking wholemeal loaf I've ever made.
For 2 loaves
1kg strong white flour
2 sachets easy blend yeast
20g sea salt
Stir together all the ingredients, adding the water steadily until you've got a scraggy dough.
Cover the bowl with clingfilm and set aside for 12-18 hours.
Flour the worksurface, divide the dough into 2 equal pieces and form into loaves using proving baskets, loaf tins as you like.
Cover loosely and leave to prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size.
Get your baking receptacle with lid on. I've found a 20cm diameter round Le Creuset works for one round loaf. Place it in a cold oven, then turn on to 230C and leave to pre-heat.
When you're ready to bake, get oven gloves on (believe me, tea towels aren't thick enough) remove the baking pot out of the oven, take off the lid, sprinkle some flour in to cover the base of the pot, then carefully transfer the proved dough into the pot.
Pop the lid back on and return to the oven.
Bake for 30 mins then remove the lid and bake for a further 10 mins.
Allow to cool - at least a little bit, before slicing into your loaf. A little rough around the edges may be, perhaps not quite the depth of flavour you'd get with a conventionally kneaded loaf, but crusty and delicious, nevertheless...