Sprinkle dry yeast in warm (110 degrees) water.
Scald milk (150 degrees) in sauce pan, then remove from heat.
Add sugar, salt, and shortening to the milk.
Cool to lukewarm.
Add yeast/water mixture and 2 cups of sifted flour and beat with hand mixer on lowest speed.
Stir in 2 to 3 more cups of flour. (I use my wooden spoon for this).
When dough becomes too stiff to stir, turn out onto well floured surface.
Knead until smooth and satiny, and "blisters" start to appear. (10 minutes). During this step, I keep the kneading surface well floured to prevent the dough from becoming sticky. Depending upon the temperature and humidity, more or less flour becomes incorporated into the dough. I have found that this is fine. The dough seems to know how much flour it needs. I am sure sometimes I add another full cup! Since this is all sifted flour, it is probably not as much as it seems. When the dough has enough flour, it stops "taking it in", and becomes very smooth and elastic.
Shape into a ball.
Put into large greased bowl, turning over to coat entire surface.
Cover with warm damp towel, then place another towel over that.
Put in oven (not lit) with light on, or other warm, not drafty place.
Let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch down. (this step is a light kneed in the bowl).
Let rise again until doubled. (about 45 minutes).
Divide dough into 2 pieces and shape each into a ball placing on floured surface.
Cover and let bread rest (proof) for 10 minutes.
Grease 2 loaf pans (I use 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2 glass pans).
Flatten balls, one at a time, into long rectangles about 8x16 inches.
Roll up lengthwise shaping into loaves to fit pan.
Cover and let rise again until double. (about an hour).
Bake in hot (400°F) oven for 35 - 40 minutes, covering with foil last 20 minutes, if tops get too brown.
When bread is done, remove from pans at once, placing on a wire rack to cool, keeping away from drafts.
For soft crust, brush tops with butter and cover with a damp cloth.