A flavorful, lightly sweet loaf great for breakfast, plain or toasted, with butter or honey.
- Proof the yeast in the warm water with a tablespoon of the white flour.
- Melt the butter in the milk, heating to scald the milk. Add the sugar. Add the ginger, if you are using it.
- Let the milk mixture cool to lukewarm so it won't kill the yeast.
- Combine the proofed yeast, the milk mixture, the eggs, and some flour and mix well.
- Add the remaining flour, mixing well.
- Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.
- Let rise in a buttered bowl in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
- Divide into two buttered loaf tins and let rise again.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- When risen, cut a few diagonal slashes in the top, then bake for 40 minutes or until done. It is done when the house smells like fresh bread, and when the loaf comes out of the pan easily and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
- Cool on a rack.
My mother made this often when we were growing up, and we all got to be involved, punching down the dough when we were very young, kneading as we got older, and finally making and baking it ourselves. I still make it quite a lot, and bring it in to work where it is always a hit.
Mom made an all-white version, and this version, which she called "half-wheat". It uses no flour other than wheat flour, so the name might be a little confusing: she had tried a whole-wheat version and was unsatisfied, so she cut back to half white flour and half whole-wheat flour.
This also works well as pan-rolls: with buttered hands, tear the dough into small buttery balls and set them loosely in a cake pan. When they have risen, bake for 30 minutes or so.
The ginger is not for flavor. Somewhere she found a reference to using ground ginger as a yeast improver. Now it is part of the lore, so I keep doing it although I have no evidence that it makes any difference.