What's the difference between no knead bread made with an 8 hour rise, an 18 hour rise, or a week in the refrigerator?
Which recipe is the best? The one from Lahey's "My Bread", Hertzberg's "Bread in 5 Minutes a Day"?, or Cook's Illustrated's: "Almost No-Knead Bread"?
How much should you work and shape the dough? I've made bread with absolutely no kneading or shaping and it turned out good--just not as tall as normal. I've followed Julia Childs' famous recipe for French bread and it turned out great.
Whatever you have time for!
I'm finding they all make good bread. There are differences between every loaf but they are small and interesting differences. The cook, the flour, and the weather are probably bigger factors. Only a formal taste panel could judge what is best under what circumstances.
I'm finding that you can mix and match techniques from Lahey's "My Bread", Cook's Illustrated's: "Almost No-Knead Bread", and Hertzberg's "Bread in 5 Minutes a Day". It's a matter of convenience and when you have a block of time.
I've made dozens of loafs and the only loaves that I wouldn't have been proud to serve company have been from forgetting about the loaf in the oven and burning it.