1. Add the yeast to 1/2 cup of the warm milk, along with 2 tablespoons sugar, and stir well until the yeast ins completely dissolved. Allow yeast to proof.
2. Place the remaining milk, butter and salt in a bowl. Stir in the flour, 1 cup at a time with a wooden spoon.
3. After the third cup, add the yeast mixture. Continue stirring in flour until the mixture is rather firm, which should take about 4 to 5 cups.
4. Remove the dough to a floured board and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until it is supple, satiny and no longer sticky.
5. Butter a bowl and place the dough in it, turning to coat all sides with the fat. Cover and allow to rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
6. Deflate the dough by punching firmly two or three times, return to a floured board and knead 4 to 5 minutes more.
7. Divide into two equal parts and shape into loaves. Place in well-buttered 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf tins, cover, and let rise again until doubled in bulk.
8. Slash the loaves with a sharp knife and brush with lightly beaten egg white or water.
9. Bake in 400º oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped with knuckles.
10. Remove the loaves from pans and put them back in the oven a few minutes longer to become more crisped.