In case you haven´t heard about it, there´s a second part to Mark Bittman´s no-knead bread article with different options to tweak the recipe a little bit, different flavors that can be added and when, and responses to questions he received.
Some of the things that I found most interesting are the possibility to add different flours in small porcentages to give it something extra (I had originally used rye and semolina for the crust and it worked great).
“Up to 30 percent whole-grain flour works consistently and well, and 50 percent whole-wheat is also excellent. At least one reader used 100 percent whole-wheat and reported “great crust but somewhat inferior crumb,” which sounds promising. I’ve kept rye, which is delicious but notoriously impossible to get to rise, to about 20 percent. There is room to experiment.”
One of the things that needed improvement in my loaf was flavor (though my main complaint was lack of humidity.) He mentions the fact that the amount of salt can be increased and he also gives some ideas for different flavorings.
“FLAVORINGS The best time to add caraway seeds, chopped olives, onions, cheese, walnuts, raisins or whatever other traditional bread flavorings you like is after you’ve mixed the dough. But it’s not the only time; you can fold in ingredients before the second rising. “
I would personally add some chopped confit tomatoes and chopped basil, but the possibilities are pretty much endless.
Another thing worth noticing is the fact that the 70F temperature is not something mandatory… you just need to adjust the rising time accordingly if it is hotter or colder.
I´m gonna try this again soon with some changes in the hot summer weather and see how it turns out. If you haven´t tried this bread, please do, it is easy and the results are really good. If it at least helps erase some fears about bread baking, then I think it is a true success.