In a large mixing bowl add yeast, sugar and warm water. ‘Proof’ yeast until foamy (5-10 min).
Add oil, milk, egg and whisk well. Add salt and flour (and cheese if using) and fold into mixture until a shaggy mass forms.
At this point continue to knead by hand until a ball forms or immediately move to a heavy duty stand mixer to work dough until a smooth ball remains. (6-8 minutes on low speed).
By hand, knead dough for 8-10 minutes, on a lightly floured work space until a smooth ball forms. Place in clean oiled bowl and lightly oil the top of dough.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap, leave to rise in a warm area.
Let dough rise 60 minutes, or until double in size (this depends on the warmth of the environment, on a stove top of a pre-heating oven is where I place my dough).
When done rising, punch down to de-gas.
Cut into 4 pieces.
Shape the dough into four round loaves, pinching underside of loaf (see pictures above) so surface tension is created.
Lay on lined baking sheet to rise. Spray dough rounds with nonstick spray and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm area until double in size (60 minutes).
When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap. Combine remaining egg and 1 tsp water, brush loaves with this egg wash mixture. Slash dough 1/4”-1/2” deep with razor blade or very sharp knife.
Bake loaves in a 400 degree preheated oven for 20 minutes or until loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped. (Temperature: 190-200 degrees F on an instant read thermometer)
Remove from oven, place on cooling rack. Cool until warm or room temperature. Makes 4 large bread bowls suitable for serving soups, dips and more. This bread may also be sliced and served, it is soft, rich white bread.
*Variation: To bake larger bread bowls for dips, divide dough into 3 portions. Follow steps as usual, increase baking time by 7-10 minutes.