Proof yeast in half a cup of the water, with about a teaspoon of flour- let it sit, covered, until it becomes bubbly& active.
Combine the rest of the water with the yeast/water in a large bowl, and gradually add about half of the flour.
Stir the mixture about 100 times in the same direction, until it is well-mixed and strands are beginning to form.
Stir in the salt and oil.
Add the remaining flour half a cup at a time, stirring well, until it is too stiff to stir with a spoon.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for about 20 minutes, adding flour as nescessary to keep the dough from sticking to the board.
The dough should be springy and nice to work with.
When it has been sufficiently kneaded, cover it with a damp cloth for about 10 minutes and wash and grease the bowl lightly.
After it has rested, knead the dough a few more times (it should feel really nice by now!) and place it in the bowl, covered with the damp cloth, a plastic bag, and maybe a plate.
Let the dough rise until it springs back when you stick your finger in it, and it is about twice the size as it was before (this takes about 2 hours; longer or shorter depending on the room temperature- I prefer a longer (cooler) rise, because it allows the flavour to develop more... but sometimes you just don't have time for that sort of thing).
Deflate the dough by punching or kneading it a few times, and let it rise again- this time, it should take about half the amount of time as it did before.
When the dough has risen twice, deflate it again and cover it with the damp cloth again for about 10 minutes (to let the gluten relax, apparently.. it makes it easier to manage if you do this), then divide it into and shape it into loaves, buns, etc.
Let the shaped dough rise on a baking sheet or in a loaf-pan for about an hour maybe- it will rise a bit more in the oven.
Slash the top of the bread if you want, so that it doesn't bust open in the oven.
Bake at 400º for 20 minutes, and then turn the oven down to 350º and bake for 20-30 minutes longer, until the loaf is a lovely brown and sounds hollow when you thump it on the bottom.
(Buns and smaller loaves take a shorter time).
Try to let the loaf cool (out side of the loaf pan, or it will get a bit soggy) before you tear into it.