Pour the warm water into your mixing bowl (I use my kitchen-aid mixer with the dough hook), add yeast, and sugar (or honey, for a healthier option). Stir it and leave it sit for about 5 minutes, or until it’s bubbly.
Meanwhile, melt your butter, add milk, and bring to lukewarm temperature. Add milk mixture to yeast mixture and stir it.
Add 3 - 4 cups flour, and the salt. Mix on low, then increase to speed 2, and mix for about a minute. Continue adding flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing until dough starts to pull away from the sides of bowl. Knead for another 2 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. (If it’s still sticking to the sides, you need more flour.)
Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1/2 to 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide it in half. I grease my hands with butter to work the dough and shape each half into a loaf. (Roll each half into about a 9″ oblong shape. Roll the dough tightly. Pinch to seal the seam, then pinch the ends and tuck them under.) Place the dough, seam side down, in greased 9x5″ loaf pans. I like to poke the loaves a few times with a fork, to release any air bubbles.
Cover and let rise again for 1/2 hour or until it has risen just above the edge of the pan. Preheat oven to 350°. Once oven is hot, bake for 35 minutes or until golden.
Spread butter over top and let it rest for a few minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. But of course this is where you will have to carefully slice a piece or two and enjoy it with some butter and honey, because it’s always best while warm. Although you will have to slice very carefully to keep from smashing your soft bread.