1. Combine in a small bowl the water, salt, yeast, and sugar.
2. Add the shortening and let proof. Sift the flour into a large bowl.
3. Make a well in the center and gradually add liquid, stirring constantly.
4. Stir with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.
5. Turn out and knead for 10 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and let rise about 1 1/2 hours.
6. Punch dough down and let rise again for 30 to 45 minutes.
7. Punch down and let rest for 10 minutes. Turn the dough onto a floured board and roll into a 15" x 10" oblong.
8. Roll up tightly toward you, beginning with the wide side.
9. With a hand on each end, roll the loaf back and forth to taper the ends and lengthen the loaf.
10. Place diagonally on a greased and cornmeal- sprinkled cookie sheet.
11. Slash at 2" intervals and let rise uncovered for about 1 1/2 hours.
12. Place in a 425 F oven. For the first 15 minutes, spray with a fine mist of water every four minutes.
13. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake 20 minutes longer.
14. The loaf should be golden brown and slide off the sheet easily.