This recipe was passed on to me from my dearest friend Katie about fifteen years ago!
2 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup cooking oil
1/2 sugar or honey
Put warm water in large mixing bowl. Stir in yeast. Add oil and sugar. (Though not vegan, honey helps the bread to rise and gives it a smoother texture than granular sugar.) Add 1 1/2 cups of flour. Mix well. Add another 1 1/2 cups of flour and about a 1/2 tsp. of salt. Mix well. After adding the first three cups of flour, I mix with my hands. Pour bread dough onto floured bread board or counter. Knead well. Continue adding flour until the dough does not stick to your hands.
Place dough back in the bowl to rise. When it has doubled in size, "punch" down the dough and dump it onto the bread board. Knead the dough well. Divide and shape into three loaves. (I typically make two large loaves and one small round loaf.) Place into greased bread pans (a round loaf can go on a greased cookie sheet) and let rise again. I usually let my bread rise above the edge of the loaf pan, but it will continue to rise in the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake until the dough sounds hollow when you tap on the top of the loaf. If you have clear bread pans you can look at the bottom of the loaf; it will be light brown when the bread is done.
Options: To make stuffed bread, roll out one section of dough after dividing it into loaves. (It will look like a thick pizza crust at this point.) Butter or grease the dough, sprinkle cheese, pizza toppings, or cinnamon sugar on the dough. Roll the dough into a log shape and then turn the ends under when placing it into the bread pans. Bake as directed above.
(Butter or grease the top of the bread when it is still warm.
This will remove the look of flour from the top of the loaves.)