1. Combine all of the ingredients, stirring until the dough comes together.

  2. Knead the dough until smooth, adding additional water or all-purpose flour if needed — the dough should be soft and somewhat sticky.

  3. Cover the dough, and let it rise until puffy, 60 to 90 minutes.

  4. Lightly grease a hearth bread pan (or other 2-pound capacity loaf pan); a 10" x 5" loaf pan; or a long covered baker or 13" pain de mie pan, both without the cover, work well here.

  5. Gently deflate the dough and shape it into a log the length of your chosen pan. Place it in the prepared pan, and let the dough rise until it's just about doubled in size, 60 to 90 minutes. If you're using a long baker, it will crown about 1/2" over the lip of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

  6. Bake the bread for 40 to 45 minutes, tenting it with aluminum foil after about 20 minutes to prevent it from getting too dark. The bread should be a nice golden brown when finished, and its internal temperature will register at least 200°F on a digital instant-read thermometer.

  7. Remove the bread from the oven, turn it out of the pan, and allow it to cool completely before slicing.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Tip: If you don't have a 2-pound capacity bread pan, you can shape the dough into a freeform log or boule, and place on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. When ready to bake, slash the bread several times to give it room to expand; then bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until it tests done.