In 2006, Mark Bittman of the New York Times wrote the ground breaking article "No-Knead Bread" in collaboration with Jim Lahey of Sullivan Street Bakery. Since then, I and a few thousand other people became obsessed. While all the other thousand people were very happy as they expressed their ecstasy in the blogoshere, I was miserable. Over the last three years, I must have tried this recipe 30 times. When the recipe says "at this point, your dough should become double", it never happened to me. Most of the time, it shrank. I tried everything. Bought special instruments to measure the 1/4 teaspoon of yeast, changed yeast, used cold water, hot water, different kinds of flour. The bread I made over the past three years always looked good, but it was inedible. There were no teeth strong enough to attack the stone hard bread. When I served it to my friends, they thought I wanted to terminate the relationship or send them away to the dentist.
But then, the light! The other day, I found another and more recent (2008) article by the same Mark Bittman. It is "Faster No-Knead Bread": it only requires 4 hours' rising (instead of the 14-20 hours of the original recipe) and it uses olive oil. I tried and it WORKED! As you can see from the picture, it looks magnificent and it is very good, too. I am so proud! If I could do this, believe me, you can do it, too.