About 5 ¼ – 5 ½ cups of unbleached flour
350ml warm beer or ale (about 45°c – 50°c)
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 packages fast yeast
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp baking soda
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cold water
1 egg white
Pour the warm beer or ale into a large mixing bowl. Add the vinegar and swirl until mixed. Pour the yeast on top of the beer/vinegar mixture and let stand for 15 minutes in order to “proof” the yeast. Add the sugar, salt, baking soda, and oil, and mix thoroughly with a fork. Mixture will be frothy. Let this stand for another 15 minutes.
Add the flour, a little at a time, mixing constantly to moisten all of the flour. You can do the first 3 ½ cups with a spoon or fork, but the next cup or so you will need to use your hands. Stop adding flour when the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl, but make sure you use at least 5 ¼ cups.
Now your work begins. You must knead this bread for 5 minutes. This will require some effort, especially from your wrists and forearms, but the bread will not work unless you do this.
Now, let this rise to double its size, about 1-1 ½ hours. Put the dough in a warm closet to speed this process.
Next, punch the batter down and divide it in half. Make two loaves. Cover a baking tray with aluminium foil and place the bread on it. Let the bread rise to double its size, another 1 – 1 ½ hours.
Make 4 diagonal cuts about half a centimetre deep across each loaf with a serrated knife.
Mix the water and egg white and brush the tops of both loaves.
Set your grill at 190°c and let the temperature stabilise. Put the bread in for about 45 minutes, brushing every 15 minutes with the egg white and water mixture, which will create a crispy crust while leaving the bread inside light and airy. Let the loaves cool for a few minutes on a wire rack before eating.