Combine in a large bowl:
Let yeast foam. Add:
Beat 100 strokes. Cover and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir down and begin adding, slowly, up to:
As dough becomes too thick to stir, turn out onto a floured work surface and begin kneading, adding flour as necessary. Knead approximately 10 minutes to produce a smooth, elastic dough.
Shape into a ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning ball to oil its surface. Cover and let rise until at least doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Shape into three loaves (use oiled or buttered loaf pans if available). Cover again and let rise 45 minutes to an hour, until loaves have doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375.
Before baking, brush tops of loaves with a mixture of:
Top loaves with:
Bake at 375 degrees about 35 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers about 200 degrees. Remove loaves from pans and cool on a wire rack.
BREADMAKING TIP: The best thing you can do for yourself if you intend to make bread regularly is find some good loaf pans (I have four "professional" loaf pans from Williams-Sonoma -- they're about $14 each -- and I swear by them), as well as a thermometer and a $2.50 plastic dough scraper, which you'll wonder how you ever lived without.