3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
Cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
1. Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2. Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don't have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
3. Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
4. Lightly grease an 8½" x 4½" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
5. Spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray, cover the dough, and let the dough rise until it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn't be more than ¼-inch over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if the liquid was heated to the correct temperature and the kitchen isn't very cold.
6. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
7. Remove the plastic wrap, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, until it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
8. Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.