Crusty French Bread

I have made this bread many, many times and it is still goood.

5 to 51/2 cups unbleached flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 teaspoons salt
2 packages dry yest
2 cups warm water
2 Tablespoons shortening
1 Tablespoon baking powder

Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and dry yest. Add warm water and shortening. Beat with a fork until smooth. Stir in remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Knead about 5 to 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turn dough to coat all sides. cover with a damp cloth and let rise in warm place for 1 to 11/2 hours; or until doubled in size. Punch down and then form into 2 long loaves, 2 bread pan size or 16 small loaves. Let rise about 45 minutes. Brush with 1 Tablespoon water mixed with egg white, slightly beaten.

Bake in 375* oven for 45 minutes for the large loaves and 25 minutes for the small loaves.

So good with fresh country butter if you can get it.