To make Jim Lahey's no-knead bread, mix 3 cups of flour with 1/4 teaspoon of instant yeast and 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt in a bowl. Add 1 5/8 cups of water, and stir to form sticky dough. Use plastic wrap to cover the bowl, and let it sit at room temperature for 12 to 18 hours. Bubbles on the top of the dough signal that it is ready to be manipulated.
Flour the work surface, and begin forming the dough into a ball. Set the dough on a towel that has been coated with flour. Add more flour to the top of the dough, cover with another towel, and let the dough rise for two hours. To avoid transferring fibers into the dough, these towels should not be made of terry cloth.
Prepare the oven for baking 30 minutes before the dough finishes rising. While preheating the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, put the baking pan in the oven to heat as well. When the oven is up to temperature, remove the pan, and place the bread inside, shaking the pan so the dough distributes evenly. Bake for 30 minutes with a lid on, then remove the lid. Bake for another 15 to 30 minutes, or until the loaf is brown.