Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm milk in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 3 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, the dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
Roll dough into a 14 x 7-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll up rectangle tightly, starting with a short edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place roll, seam side down, in an 8 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat surface of dough with cooking spray, and cover; let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Uncover loaf; drizzle surface of loaf with remaining 1 tablespoon butter, gently spreading with a pastry brush. Cut a (1/4-inch-deep) slit lengthwise down center of loaf using a sharp knife.
Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until the bread is browned on bottom and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on wire rack.
I know 4 stars is supposed to mean "worthy of a special occasion," but this bread is more "worthy of anytime you want some white bread." There's nothing that really stands out about it, but it's still a delicious bread! I made it exactly to the recipe except that I baked it on a cookie sheet. It came out looking just as dense as it does in the picture. I totally see what the other reviewers meant about it approximating brick weight and density, though I don't think that takes away from how good it is.
I will say that the crust was surprisingly good. I think I'll coat all my loaves with butter from now on. It was crunchy and flavorful without being so hard that it cuts the roof of your mouth like french bread does!
This bread is extremely dense - it came out something like a brick. I make bread almost every week, so I have some confidence in my abilities and it seems this is just not a great recipe. Too bad - it smelled great while it was baking.
I consider myself a pretty experienced baker, but I either totally failed at this or the recipe is a little off. The bread came out somewhat dense like biscuit consistency...and I didn't even add the full 3 1/2 cups...I stopped short of 3. The taste is also just mediocre....I may try it again, but I am more tempted to just try a different recipe.
this bread was excellent. i followed the recipe precisely, including spooning the flour into the measuring cups. the only thing i did differently was that i added sesame seeds to the top before i put it in the oven. it produced an amazingly light buttery loaf, absolutely delicious. this is my first experience with myrecipes.com and i am excited about my next discovery!
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