- 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.
- Allow the dough to rise in a covered bowl for 1 to 2 hours.
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat your oven to 425°F.
- Brush with water or egg white, sprinkle with the seeds, if desired, and slash diagonally in several places.
- 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).
- Let cool, then wrap the bread and store it for 5 days on the counter, or up to 3 months in the freezer.