Update to this post, 12/14/2010: For some reason, the links to the actual recipe and blog post in the third paragraph below are dead. The whole article has disappeared. Drop me a line and I'll email you the recipe if you're curious.
So, I've been a curious bread-baker for many years, with varying results. I have lots of books and have tried every single "proven" recipe that anyone and everyone has ever shared with me. I still never felt totally confident and sometimes the bread was great and sometimes not.
For the past couple of years I've been thrilled with my two no-knead recipes, found here and here and use them very, very often. I've never had a failure with either of these recipes. Both make a rustically beautiful round loaf with an open, chewy crumb and a very chewy crust. Delicious for spreading with butter and honey and eating an entire loaf at one sitting, but not always so perfect for every-day sandwiches. I have a bread machine recipe that I like a lot that I use for the kids' daily lunch bread, but I've been longing for a foolproof loaf-pan recipe that gives me the same confidence that the no-knead methods have given me.
Yesterday, it dropped right into my lap. Or rather my email box. I'm so excited. Check it out here in a blog post with photos, detailed instructions and a great story and here for the printable recipe. I've made 2 loaves already with different flours and both came out perfectly. The loaf in the photos is made from King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat. I also tried it with half regular flour/half home-ground wheat flour and that got eaten while it was still hot. Next will be the 100% regular whole wheat test, which I think will be tomorrow afternoon's Sunday Kitchen Therapy. This bread has a fine, soft crumb and a soft crust and slices to perfection. It does make great toast, as the blog post attests, but I made myself a salami sandwich with mayo and it was heavenly. Likewise the steady stream of bread, butter and honey I've been living on today.