yields 1 loaf
The Bits and Bobs:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 tsp dry active yeast
1/4 cup milk, warm - plus more for brushing
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
In a bowl, combine the yeast and the warm milk. Allow to bloom and froth for about 5 minutes. Mix in the sugar and beat in the eggs until they are well mixed. Next, stir in the salt and flour until the dough looks shaggy. It will look dry at this stage. With the hook attachment, turn the mixer on low and allow the machine to knead the dough until the flour is more incorporated. This should only be a 2-3 minutes of kneading. Turn the speed up to medium and add the softened butter one tablespoon at time, allowing the butter to distribute and mix in completely before the next addition and scraping down the sides as needed. Once you have thrown all the butter in to the mix, continue to beat for another 5 minutes or so until the butter has completely been incorporated into the dough. The dough will look glossy and slightly loose.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set somewhere warm to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. I happened to let mine go for about 2 hours because the air conditioning had been on for most of the day and room temp was cool. You basically are looking for the dough to double in size. After this first rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to "marinate" for at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
When ready to bake, grease a standard loaf pan with a little butter. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat down a bit to form a rectangular shape. Using a bench scrape, cut the dough into six somewhat even pieces. Form each piece into a ball shape by tucking the ends under and pinching closed. Place each ball into the greased tin, staggering a bit for a little style if you like, then cover again with a kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot and allow to rise for a second time for another 2 hours. The dough should rise to just over the lip of the tin.
Preheat the oven to 350°. Brush a little whole milk on the top of the dough then bake for 35-40 mins. The tops should be a nice golden brown. If you are looking to be real exact, a thermometer place in the center of the dough should read 190°F. Remove and place loaf pan on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from pan and continuing to allow to cool completely.