A soft and fluffy, chewy and tender, perfectly delicious bread recipe you'll use again and again! A comforting classic that's perfect warm with butter, used for a homestyle sandwich, or served up as morning toast with jam.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer whisk together warm water, yeast and 1/2 Tbsp sugar. Let rest 10 minutes.**
Fit mixer with paddle attachment. To yeast mixture add remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, salt, milk, butter and about 2/3 of the flour. Mix until well combined.
Switch to hook attachment, add remaining flour and knead on low speed until it comes together well. Continue to knead on low speed, while adding a little more flour as needed to create a soft, non-sticky yet supple dough. Knead until mixture clears the sides of the bowl and becomes smooth, about 7 - 8 minutes.
Transfer dough to an bowl sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray and cover bread (sprayed side down, don't wrap tightly just drape over so the dough has space to expand). Let rest until doubled in volume, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Press dough down then transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Pat and stretch dough to a rectangle about 14 by 8-inches.
Roll dough up starting on one of the 8 inch ends and rolling to opposite side.
Transfer to a greased 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with non-stick cooking spray (or use plastic wrap used to cover bowl) and drape greased side down over bread pan leaving room for bread to expand, plastic wrap shouldn't be wrapped tight.
Let rest until loaf is about 1 1/2 to 2-inches above the height of the bread pan, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees near the end of that rise period.
Bake loaf in center of oven, rotating once halfway through baking, until golden brown on top and it sounds hallow when tapped, about 35 - 42 minutes.*** Loaf should register 195 degrees in center on an instant read thermometer.
Remove from oven, run a stick of butter over top (using about 1/2 Tbsp). Transfer to a wire rack to cool at least 20 minutes before attempting to slice (who can resist a slice of warm bread? Just keep in mind it does slice cleanest once cooled through though).
Store bread in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or for longer shelf life store in the refrigerator.
*If using instant yeast there's not need to proof (mix with water and sugar) and let rest. Instead just mix all ingredients in step 1 and 2 together.
**It should bubble after after resting, if not yeast is bad or water was too hot. If needed you may need to begin with new yeast.
***If you find your oven is browning top too quickly before cooked through then tent with foil.
I'm in a dry climate so I like to transfer the bread to an airtight container when it's still slightly warm. This way the loaf sort of steams in the container and softens the crust and traps moisture in.