Combine the water, yeast, and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a large bowl. Stir and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Gradually add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, and stir well with a large wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. Add 1 to 1 1/2 cups additional flour 1/2 cup at a time to make a stiff dough, either stirring with the wooden spoon or working with your hands. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and no longer sticky, about 5 minutes, adding just as much flour as needed. (Dough should be heavier and stiffer than regular yeast bread dough.)
Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until almost doubled, about 1 hour.