The last time I was back east visiting my parents, my mom's friend brought over a homemade loaf of bread. Round and crusty, it was absolutely perfect. Hearty, doughy but not dense. She raved about making it and sent me the recipe for Jim Lahey's famous No-Knead Bread.
I already knew I have a thing for making bread, but until now I'd focused all of my efforts on challah. I love making challah, but I don't make it as often as I'd like because it's so time intensive. I have to plan my workday around making it (which I actually enjoy doing, but can't always).
This no-knead bread, though? Sure, it requires a lot of time, but it's almost entirely hands-off. I make the dough in the late afternoon, let it rise overnight, do the second rise first thing in the morning and bake it before I have to leave the house for the day. After the first time I made it, I ordered Lahey's book, which includes instructions to make more than just this bread (though honestly, I don't know why I'd ever want anything more than this bread).
I made four loaves in five days last week!
As far as I can tell, this approach is utterly fool-proof.
I'm becoming that crazy bread lady who hands a loaf of bread to people wherever I go.