1) Mix and knead all the ingredients — in a mixer bowl or the pan of a bread machine — to make a smooth dough. The dough will be a little bit sticky; but as long as it's firm enough to hold its shape, no more flour is necessary.
2) Cover the dough and allow it to rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until noticeably puffy, though not doubled in bulk.
3) Lightly grease the base pan of a long covered baker. If you don't have a covered stoneware baker, see tips, at left.
4) Gently deflate the risen dough, and shape it into a log. Place it in the baker, put the lid on, and allow it to rise until it crests 1" over the rim of the pan, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
5) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes with the lid on, then remove the lid and bake for 5 to 10 minutes longer, until the bread is golden brown and the interior registers 190°F on a digital thermometer. Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool.
Yield: 1 loaf.