Combine water, starter, the 4 cups flour, sugar and salt in a crock or glass
bowl. Mix well, cover lightly with a towel or cheesecloth folded into several thicknesses,
and let stand at room temperature for approximately 18 to 24 hours or until the
dough has doubled in size.
Mix 1 cup of the remaining flour with 1/2 teaspoon of the baking soda and stir
this into the risen dough until it is very stiff.
Turn the dough out onto a floured
board and knead approximately 1 more cup of flour and a little more baking soda
into it. Knead it for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
Shape into 2 long loaves or 1 large round loaf, place on a lightly greased baking
sheet, cover, and let stand in a warm place for 3 to 4 hours or until almost doubled
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush a little water on top of the loaves and make a few diagonal slits across
the top with a sharp knife.
For a crustier bread, place a shallow pan of water in
the bottom of the oven.
Bake for approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust
is a medium dark brown.