Instructions

  1. To make by hand or mixer: Combine all of the ingredients and mix until cohesive. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes, then knead it until it's elastic though still sticky, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. To make by bread machine: Put all of the ingredients into the bucket of your bread machine. Program for dough or manual, and press Start. Check the dough after about 15 minutes; it should be smooth-looking. If not, adjust the consistency with additional flour or water. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled surface and form it into an oval; cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  5. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
  6. Brush with water or egg white, sprinkle with the seeds, if desired, and slash diagonally in several places.
  7. Bake the bread for 18 to 22 minutes. The loaf is dark, so check for doneness by thumping (you'll hear a hollow sound) or using an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf (the temperature should read 190 to 200°F).
  8. Let cool, then wrap the bread and store it for 5 days on the counter, or up to 3 months in the freezer.