1-3/4 cups warm water (110° F to 115° F)
2 packages active dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons shortening
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups sifted flour, divided
No-Stick Cooking Spray
1 egg white, beaten until frothy
Pour warm water into a large bowl. Sprinkle yeast over water and stir until dissolved. Blend in sugar,salt, and melted shortening. Add 3 cups flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic. Shape into a ball.
Spray a large bowl with no-stick cooking spray; place dough in prepared bowl and turn to grease top of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
Punch down dough. Divide in half. Roll each half on a lightly floured surface to form a 15-x8-inch rectangle. Roll up tightly as for a jelly roll. Place loaves seam-side-down on a large greased cookie sheet; fold ends under.
With a sharp knife, slash dough diagonally down length of loaf at 1-inch intervals. Brush with beaten egg white. Let rise uncovered 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Place a large shallow pan on lower oven rack and fill with boiling water. Place bread on center rack.
Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes or until golden. Cool on racks.
Variation: Try this recipe using 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat flour.