In a small saucepan, combine the milk, butter, and the sugar. Place over medium-high heat and cook, stirring, until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and cool to about 110 degrees F. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface of the milk. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt and set aside.
Pour the milk and yeast mixture into the bowl of flour and mix until a soft, ragged mixture is formed. Transfer the flour mixture to a well-floured work surface and knead until a soft elastic dough is formed, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and place in a warm spot in the kitchen, until puffed and doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Transfer the dough to the work surface and, using your hands, gently flatten into a 10-inch-long oval shape. Fold the dough into thirds lengthwise, overlapping the sides in the center. Press down on the overlapping side to seal and make a seam. Place seam side-down in a buttered 9x5 loaf pan, cover with a kitchen towel, and return to the warm spot until the dough has just risen about 1 1/2 inches over the top of the pan, about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Brush the top of the dough lightly with warm water and, using a sharp knife, make 1/4-inch-deep slit down the center. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Remove the loaf from the pan and place in the center of the rack. Continue baking until the loaf sounds hollow when rapt lightly with your knuckles, on the bottom and top, or an instant read thermometer inserted in the center registers about 190 degrees F., about 15 minutes.
Transfer the bread loaf to a cooling rack and cool completely before slicing.
Copyright 2001 Television Food Network, G.P. All rights reserved