Mix 2 cups of the flour, the sugar and yeast in large bowl. Add warm water. Beat
with wire whisk or electric mixer on low speed 1 minute, scraping bowl frequently.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand about 1 hour until bubbly.
Stir in oil and salt. Stir in enough remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until a soft,
smooth dough forms. Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead about 10
minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking, until dough is
smooth and springy.
Place dough in large bowl greased with shortening, turning dough to grease all sides.
Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until
double. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
Grease uninsulated cookie sheet with shortening. Place dough on lightly floured
surface. Gently shape into an even, round ball, without releasing all of the bubbles
in the dough. Stretch sides of dough downward to make a smooth top. Place loaf
with smooth side up on cookie sheet. Spray loaf with cool water. Cover loosely with
plastic wrap and let rise in warm place 45 to 60 minutes or until almost double.
Place square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches, on bottom rack of oven; add hot water to
pan until about 1/2 inch from the top. Heat oven to 425°.
Spray loaf with cool water; sprinkle lightly with flour. Carefully cut three 1/4-inch-
deep slashes on top of loaf with sharp serrated knife.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until loaf is deep golden brown with crisp crust and sounds
hollow when tapped. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack; cool.