1) Combine all of the ingredients and mix and knead — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until the dough is elastic and slightly sticky.
2) Let the dough rise in a lightly greased, covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours; it should become puffy.
3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled surface. Gently deflate it, and shape it into a ball.
4) Place the shaped loaf into a round stoneware baker (e.g., La Cloche), and cover with the lid. (See "tips," below, for an alternate pan suggestion.)
5) Let the loaf rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's almost doubled in size.
6) Preheat the oven to 425°F.
7) Slash the loaf diagonally in several places.
8) Bake the loaf for 30 to 40 minutes, remove the lid, and bake for another 5 minutes; the bread will be dark. When done, it'll be crusty, and a digital thermometer inserted into the center will read 190°F to 200°F.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool completely.
Yield: 1 loaf.