Combine the water, yeast, and 1 tbls of sugar in a measuring cup and let stand for 15 minutes until mixture is frothy.
Pour the milk into a large bowl. Add the remaining sugar, the butter and the salt. Stir in the yeast mixture.
Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time until a stiff dough forms.
Transfer the dough to a floured surface. To knead, push the dough away from you with the palm of your hand, then fold it toward you, and push away again. Repeat until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover with plastic bag, and leave in a warm place until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours.
Grease 2 9×5 inch loaf pans.
Punch down the risen dough with your fist and divide in half. Form into loaf shapes and place in the pans, seam side down. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in volume about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake until firm and brown, 45 to 50 minutes. Unmold and tap the bottom of a loaf; if it sounds hollow it is done. If necessary, return to the oven and bake a few more minutes.
Let cool on rack.