To make the starter: Combine the flour, yeast, salt, and water in a large bowl. Stir until you have a shaggy, sticky dough. You may need to add a little bit more water here (I added about 1/4 cup more and it was perfect - just go slowly and add what you need). Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and leave it in a warm(ish) place to rest for 18 - 20 hours, or in my case 48 hours. When it is ready, it will have risen to about double the size and the surface of the dough will be very bubbly.
When the dough is ready, lightly flour a large surface. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and fold it over two or three times. Don't be alarmed if it spreads out - a little bit like Jabba the Hut. Sprinkle the top of the dough with a little bit of flour, cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
Once the bread has had 15 minutes, gently and quickly shape it into a ball. At this point, I added half of the pears and gorgonzola, shaped into another ball so they were evenly distributed throughout the dough, added the other half of "the good stuff" and shaped again. Jim Lahey suggests that you put the dough on a cotton (not terry cloth) towel sprinkled with cornmeal for the final rest, but I used a large sheet of plastic wrap sprinkled with flour as I could see the towel situation going horribly wrong. So putting my dough on the plastic wrap, and covering again with a new sheet of plastic wrapped worked just fine for me! Let the dough rest for another 2 hours. When it is ready, it will appear a bit more like "regular" bread dough, doubled in size and will not readily spring back when poked.
About a half an hour before the bread is ready, turn the oven on to 450f / 230c. Put your covered pot into the oven to heat up as the oven heats up.
When your bread is ready to bake, carefully take your pot out of the oven, sprinkle the bottom with cornmeal or semolina (take it from me - don't skip this step or you will have to play tug-o-war with your bread later) and carefully plop your dough into the pot. Don't worry if it plops sideways or skewiff, it will even itself out in baking. Cover with the lid, and bake for 30 minutes. Then remove the lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the loaf is beautifully browned and crusty. If the dough starts to smell scorched, turn the heat down a little bit. When cooked, take out of the pot and let cool on a baking rack for at least 30 minutes. I had to let mine cool in the pot as it was too difficult to remove when hot - learn from my mistakes!
Makes 1 large loaf, 12-15 slices.