(Pictured: cheese bread, see options below)
5 C (more or less) flour
1 Tbls sugar
2 ½ tsp salt
1 envelope yeast
2 C very warm water
2 Tbls softened butter
In a large mixing bowl, combine yeast and sugar with ½ C warm water; let stand until bubbly (5 min). Stir in butter and salt until combined/dissolved. Add 4 C flour and the rest of the warm water and mix 3 - 4 minutes. Continue to add the remaining flour until a very soft dough forms; it should still be very sticky. Knead (by hand or machine) 8-10 minutes or until dough is very smooth and elastic.
Thinly coat a large bowl with olive oil; place dough in bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with a clean, slightly damp towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. Punch down and knead until smooth. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a log and place each in a greased loaf pan. Let stand/rise until almost doubled (40 minutes to an hour).
Bake at 400° for 30 minutes or until loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Brush crust with butter if desired.
Options: Cheese Bread: add 1-2 C shredded cheese(s), sprinkle some on loaf tops; Garlic Bread: add 6-8 cloves crushed/diced garlic, roasted; Beer Bread: use flat beer instead of water