Rinse the lentils and remove any foreign matter.Transfer the lentils to a large saucepan, about 6 quarts (6 liters), then cover with a copious amount of water, which should cover the lentils by at least 3-4 inches. Add the bay leaf and thyme
. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, add a bit of salt
, and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until the lentils are just tender, adding more water if necessary. Be sure not to overcook them.