Put all of the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. With a stand mixer, or with your hands, mix up a sticky dough. Work the dough just enough to incorporate all the flour.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it rest at room temperature overnight, or for at least 8 hours; it will become bubbly and rise quite a bit, so be sure your bowl is large enough.
After 8 hours (or overnight), turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. To make a single boule loaf, us 9" x 12" oval deep casserole dish with cover; or a 9" to 10" round lidded baking crock.
Shape the dough to fit, and place it in the lightly greased pan of your choice, smooth side up. Cover and let rise at room temperature for about 1 hour, until dough has again becomes puffy and fills the pan about 3/4 full.
Garnish by sprinkling a handful of oats on top, if desired.
Place the pan into a cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 450°F. Bake the bread for 45 to 50 minutes, then remove the lid and continue to bake for another 5 to 15 minutes, until the bread is deep brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center registers about 205°F.
Remove the bread from the oven, turn out onto a rack, and cool before slicing.
1). Can I use active dry and instant yeasts interchangeably? Yes, they can be substituted for one another 1:1. We’ve found that active dry yeast is a little bit slower off the mark than instant, as far as dough rising goes; but in a long (2- to 3-hour) rise, the active dry yeast catches up. If a recipe using instant yeast calls for the dough to “double in size, about 1 hour,” you may want to mentally add 15 to 20 minutes to this time if you’re using active dry yeast.