Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Add 1 teaspoon sugar; let stand 5 minutes. Add remaining 5 teaspoons sugar, 4 1/2 cups flour, milk, oil, and salt; beat at medium speed of a mixer until smooth. Stir in 2 cups flour to form a soft dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, one tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
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, 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down, and divide in half. Working with 1 portion at a time (cover remaining dough to keep from drying out), roll each portion into a 14 x 10-inch rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Roll up each rectangle tightly, starting with a long edge, pressing firmly to eliminate air pockets; pinch seam and ends to seal. Place rolls, seam side down, on a large baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Uncover dough; using a sharp knife, make 4 diagonal cuts 1/4 inch deep across tops of loaves. Combine 2 teaspoons water and egg white; brush over loaves. Sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pan; let cool on wire racks.
Made this recipe tonight for the first time. I made a couple of changes to suit my taste. In place of sugar I used honey, I added three tablespoons of Italian seasoning to the dough and brushed the top of the loaves with a milk and honey. Yummy!! I will be making this again for sure.
I have made this bread dozens of times and it is always a big hit. I make it in my food processer so I don't have to hand knead it. I recently have started adding fresh oregano, basil and garlic to the bread mixture and it makes the bread even better.
Made this in my KitchenAid stand mixer (it did the work; I did the dishes!). Two big loaves, which do spread out. Gave one to my mother-in-law with some Beef Bourguignonne. Everyone really loved this bread (and the beef!). The dough is sticky, but don't worry about it. I'm going to make it again tomorrow.
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