I used this recipe last night. It's by far my favorite one--there are some days you want something fancier, but this is a fantastic basic basic recipe. I'm assuming in this recipe that you have a KitchenAid (or a mixer with a dough hook) and a vague understanding of making bread. If you have questions, write them in the comments (where Marianne can answer them!)
Pour 1/2 cup warm water (like 100 degrees, think really hot bath water. It's hard to get it to hot if you are getting it out of the tap) into mixer.
Add 1 TBsp active dry yeast and 1 TBsp sugar. Let sit until creamy, about 5 minutes. Add additional 2 cups warm water.
Add 6 cups white flour and 1 TBsp. salt. Mix with dough hook, slowly at first and then on a medium speed once flour is incorporated.
If the dough does not come together, add more flour, 1 TBsp at a time. (I usually end up using 6 1/2 of flour) Mix for 10 minutes. Add 4 TBsp butter (at room temperature) a tablespoon at a time. The dough will come apart as you add the butter, but keep beating, it will come back together. When butter is fully incorporated, remove bowl from mixer, cover with a towel and let rest for 1 hour.
Punch down dough, divide into two pieces. On counter roll into a rectangle about 9x12, roll up and place, seam side down into bread pan. Place in cold oven and let rise 1 hour.
Turn oven on to 375. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until browned and the loaves sound hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and immediately remove from pans. Let them cool on wire racks so crust crisps on all sides (if you set it on the counter it will sweat and the bottom will turn soggy)
Once completely cool, keep bread in brown paper bag or wrap airtight and freeze.
Fantastic homemade bread screams for honey butter. Mine has a secret ingredient--powdered sugar! This is not health food, people!
Combine 2 cubes real butter, (close to room temp- works best when slightly chilled. I take it out of the fridge for about 20 minutes), 2/3 cup honey and 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Just place it all in a bowl and beat with an electric hand-mixer for about 30 seconds. Serve at room temperature. Your butt won't fit in your jeans, but at least it was worthwhile.