This fragrant bread is great plain or toasted, and it makes a delicious accompaniment to any hearty soup.
Makes 2 loaves.
1 1/2 cups warm water (105°f; to 115°f.)
4 1/2 cups (about) unbleached all purpose flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Heat oil in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Cool.
Pour 1 1/2 cups warm water into small bowl. Stir in yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Mix 4 cups flour and salt in large bowl. Stir in onion and any oil remaining in skillet. Add yeast mixture and oregano and mix well. Knead briefly in bowl just until dough comes together. Turn out dough onto generously floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, adding more flour by tablespoonfuls as necessary to keep dough from sticking, about 10 minutes.
Oil large bowl. Add dough to bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with kitchen towel. Let dough rise in warm draft-free area until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Oil heavy large baking sheet. Punch down dough. Turn out onto floured work surface and knead briefly. Divide into 2 equal pieces. Shape each piece into smooth 6-inch round loaf. Place loaves on prepared baking sheet. Cover with kitchen towel. Let rise in warm draft-free area until double in volume, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Brush each loaf with some of beaten egg. Bake 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 3509°F. Bake until bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, about 35 minutes. Transfer loaves to racks and cool. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in foil and store at room temperature.)