Measure one cup of the milk into a small bowl and warm it in the microwave. You want the milk to be slightly warmer than body temperature. You should be able to stick your finger in it and it feels warm, not hot. If it is too hot it will kill the yeast and your bread will not rise properly.
Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the yeast and stir well. Set aside until the yeast is very foamy- about 5 minutes.
While you’re waiting for your yeast to foam up add the remaining milk and softened butter to a large bowl. Warm in the microwave until the butter is melted. Let cool slightly so that it is about room temperature. You should be able to wrap your hands around the sides of the bowl and it feels warm, not hot.
Once your yeast is foamy pour it into the large bowl and stir it a bit so everything is combined.
Add 3-4 cups of flour, one cup at a time and mix in with a wooden spoon until it is too thick to stir anymore. If your dough is too sticky to handle after adding 4 cups of flour and mixing add another ½ cup of flour in and mix again. Keep adding the flour to the bowl until the dough is firm enough to handle. You want to be able to handle it and not have most of the dough sticking to your hands.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead, adding flour as needed until the dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your hands, about 10 minutes. If you have a stand mixer you can use it with the dough hook.
The amount of flour you will need while kneading will vary depending on the moisture in the air. I used about 5 cups of flour for this recipe. Other times I have made this recipe and only needed to use 4 ½ cups of flour. Don’t worry even if you need to use more than the 5 ½ cups that I used. The amount of flour need will change each time you make bread.
Once your dough is nice and smooth butter the inside of a large bowl and turn the dough around in it so all sides of the dough are covered with butter. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, about an hour.
After the dough has doubled punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough in half and form into two loaves. Place the loaves of dough into two buttered bread pans.
Cover with a towel and allow to rise until the dough is puffed up over the edges of the bread pans. Again this may take up to an hour.
Preheat your oven to 350 F. degrees. Before you put bake the bread gently brush some melted butter over the top.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until cooked through and golden.
Remove from the oven and brush more melted butter over the tops.
Cool for ten minutes and turn out of pans and cool on a cooling rack. Cool completely before slicing.
Makes 2 loaves. If you cut very thin pieces you can get close to 20-25 slices of bread out of one loaf.