1In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, yeast, and sugar. Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12-18 hours. Overnight works great.
Note: Regular active yeast can be used in place of the instant or rapid rise yeast but it will need to be activated in 1/4 cup warm water with 1 tsp sugar. Stir and let sit for 5-10 minutes. However, the rapid rise works the best.
2DO NOT REFRIGERATE. This is not optional. It takes that much time to proof the dough. The reason why you need a large bowl, is because the dough will start to rise.
3Heat oven to 450 degrees. Once the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.
4Right after you put the pan in the oven to preheat, dump the dough out onto a HEAVILY floured surface and shape it into a round ball. A pastry cloth works great! Cover with plastic wrap and let set for 30 minutes while the pot is heating.
5Remove hot pot from the oven and carefully drop in the dough. You do NOT have to have an enamel covered cast iron pot. You can use anything with a lid that can take the heat, such as a 5.5 quart cast iron enamel covered pot.
You DO NOT need to oil the pot. At least not in a enamel covered cast iron or regular cast iron pot.
6Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.
7Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool. Remember the pot is HOT so use a couple of hot pads and carefully pull out the bread.
8Tips: Use your imagination and add other ingredients like garlic, onion, cheese, pepperoni, dill, herbs, sun dried tomatoes, dried fruits, nuts, etc.