Note: Thanks to reader feedback, we've re-tested this recipe and have added some tips (at left, below) to yield a lighter, higher-rising loaf.
1) Using your hands or a mixer at slow speed, mix all the ingredients until a sticky dough forms, working the dough just enough to incorporate all the flour.
2) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours; it'll become bubbly and rise quite a bit.
3) Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and form it into a round loaf to fit a 9" to 10" round lidded baking crock.
4) Place the dough in the lightly greased crock, smooth side up. Cover with the lid and let rise at room temperature for about 2 hours, until it becomes puffy. It should rise noticeably, but it won't double.
5) Put the bread in a cold oven, and set the oven temperature to 450°F.
6) Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until it becomes deep brown in color, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.
7) Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out onto a rack, and cool before slicing.
Yield: one 9" to 10" round loaf.