I have always loved the crust on italian style breads. It was close to impossible for me to get the crispness. I tried using a Pizza Stone, adding water to the oven in the beginning of the baking process. But nothing worked.
Suddenly everybody was blogging about Jim Laheys 'No-knead Bread'. People called it the worlds best bread.
The secret was baking the bread in a dutch oven at high temperature with the lid on - the first 20-25 minutes.
Could this be the answer to all my troubles?
In one word - Yes
The lid keeps the moisture inside the dutch oven, and it works similar to the steam you get in a professional oven.
By baking the bread till its much darker than you normaly would, gives you the crispy crust, you'll find on italian style breads.
Getting the perfect crumb is another story. Jim Laheys 'No-knead Bread' didn't give me the chewy crumb with the big holes I was looking for.