Originally Posted by Dismount
How do you feel about the pan o' hot water in the stove to keep the temps up for rising/proof/etc >?
I've been leaving it in for the actual baking too, as my house induces nosebleeds with it's level of non-humidity.
That's hard to answer without knowing the temperature, and what you're trying to achieve. We keep the bakery 75F year round, and our mixing window is 75-77. Generally, bread fermented in mid/high 70's is best for control and flavor. Just warm enough, but not too warm.
Humidity in the oven is crucial for expansion of the final loaf. Without it, you get alot of busting out all over, and you won't achieve correct volume. I don't have much experience baking at home unfortunately. Any humidity you can get into the oven in the first 15min or so would be a good thing!
The no-knead method as well as Chad Robertsons method described in Tartine use a covered dutch oven. That seems like a great technique to me. What is going to happen is all the moisture being driven off from baking will be trapped in the pot, and steam the bread. You'll need to take top off towards the end of the bake to drive off that moisture so you get a crust, and it obviously only works for round loaves.