2 cups warm water between 110 and 120 degrees F as measured with a candy thermometer
5 cups all-purpose flour
6 teaspoons lard or olive oil
2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing loaves
Dissolve yeast and salt in warm water and allow it to proof. The mixture should develop foam at the top which looks like the head of a beer. If it doesn't, the yeast is dead and should be discarded. This process takes about 15 minutes.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and gradually mix in the lard with your fingers. Then gradually add the yeast mixture and mix until the flour is moistened. Turn onto a floured board and knead into a cohesive mass. Place into a bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a warm place to allow the dough to rise. This will take 30 to 45 minutes.
Punch the dough down, cover with the towel again and let sit in a warm place for another 30 minutes or so to allow to rise again. Note: the dough will not rise as much the second time.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Transfer dough to a floured board and form into 2 or 3 loaves or bars. Place in a greased pan and brush the top of the dough with oil. Bake for 30 to 50 minutes until golden brown. The baked loaves should sound hollow when tapped.