Here's something special! Based on the method outlined in The New York Times last November, this bread requires very little effort. But you do have to plan ahead—start it the night before, then bake the next day, or start early in the morning for bread in the evening. This recipe was developed using a bread crock, but any appropriately sized heavy, oven-safe, covered pot should work. This recipe comes from the King Arthur site. Times given do not allow for the long rising time.
- Mix flours, sugar, salt, yeast, and water in a large bowl.
- Add cherries, chocolate chips, and pecans. Stir well to make a very soft dough, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Let rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 12 hours; the dough will be bubbly and puffy.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and fold it onto itself a few times.
- Let it rest 15 minutes, then form it into a ball.
- Place it in a lightly greased bowl, smooth side down. Cover and let rise at room temperature about 2 hours, until a slight indentation remains when poked with a finger.
- During the last 30 minutes of rising, preheat the oven to 450°F and place a bread crock (or a heavy, 4- to 4 1/2-quart oven-safe pot) in the oven while it heats.
- When the dough is risen, remove the crock from the oven, and turn the dough out of the bowl and into the crock; the smooth side will be facing up.
- Shake the crock gently to settle the dough, then cover with the lid and return to the oven.
- Bake the bread for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake another 30 to 40 minutes, until the bread is deep brown in color and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.
- Remove the crock from the oven, turn the bread onto a rack, and cool before slicing. Yield: 1 loaf.