We started baking our own bread about two years ago. Sure, we've broken down and bought the occasional baguette, but for the most part, all the bread that we've had in the house since then has been made by us. It started (as I suspect it did for a lot of people), with the New York Times article on no-knead bread. The recipe relies on time, rather than physical kneading, to get all of the ingredients properly incorporated. It also calls for baking the dough in a pre-heated Dutch oven. This mimics an industrial steam-injection oven by capturing the moisture from the bread as it's baking, leading to a crispier crust. Finally, it uses much more water than a conventional bread recipe, which helps to create a chewy texture with an open crumb.
Michael likes to put some of the water in first and use it to help him scrape the old dough bits off the sides of the bucket. Then the flour, salt, and yeast goes on top and gets mixed together, and the rest of the water goes on top. It turns out looking like a soft, sticky mess. Way too wet to knead, even if you wanted to.
The dough hangs out in here for about an hour to proof, sprayed with vegetable oil and covered with plastic wrap to keep the top from drying out. After the hour is up, we pop a large stone pot into the oven to preheat, set the temperature for 500 F, and set the timer for another hour. That's to ensure that the pot and the oven are searing hot when the dough is ready, and to ensure that the dough itself is fully risen and ready to bake.