ready in 2 h. 40 min.
For the starter, mix the yeast with the sugar and 2 tbsp lukewarm water. Add enough flour to form a soft dough. Cover and leave to rise in a warm place for around 20 minutes. (The starter should form cracks on the surface. )
Add the remaining flour to the starter together with around 220 ml lukewarm water, the salt and the oil, and knead the mixture together. Cover and leave to rise for around another 40 minutes.
Line a baking tray with grease-proof paper.
Knead the dough again thoroughly on a floured surface and form into an oblong loaf. Gently slash the loaf on the diagonal several times and place on the baking tray. Leave to rise for a further 20 minutes.
Heat the oven to 220C (200C in a fan oven), 425F, gas 7. Put an oven-safe dish of water in the oven.
Brush the dough with water and bake in the oven for around 45 minutes until golden brown and crispy. Take the bread out of the oven and leave to cool before serving.