In a bowl, mix the 1/4 cup warm milk, the 2 tablespoons sugar, and the yeast. Let stand in warm place 10 minutes or until bubbly.
In a saucepan, heat and stir the 1/2 cup sugar, the butter, the 1/3 cup milk, and the salt until warm (105 degree F to 115 degree F) and butter is almost melted. Stir in the 3 eggs.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour, the yeast mixture, egg mixture, and spice. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a spoon (or a dough hook), beat in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that's smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). (Or knead with a dough hook for 6 to 8 minutes.) Shape dough into a ball. Place in a buttered bowl, turning once to butter surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, knead for about 5 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes).
Punch dough down. Divide in half. Shape each half of dough into a round loaf. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and flatten slightly to 6 inches in diameter. Beat together the 1 egg and water. Brush on tops of loaves. Sprinkle loaves with sesame seed. Cover and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled (about 45 minutes).
Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 40 minutes or until bread is fairly dark brown, covering with foil the last 20 minutes to prevent overbrowning. Remove; cool on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves.
To Use Your Bread Machine Add ingredients to bread machine pan according to manufacturer's directions; use white- or wheat-bread cycle and light-color setting, if available. Makes 1 loaf.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast; 2/3 cup milk; 1/4 cup butter, cut up; 1/4 cup sugar; 3/4 teaspoon salt; 2 eggs; 3-1/3 cups bread flour; 1/8 teaspoon ground anise, mace or cinnamon.
1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast; 1/2 cup milk; 3 tablespoons butter, cut up; 3 tablespoons sugar; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 egg; 2-1/4 cups bread flour; 1/8 teaspoon ground anise, mace or cinnamon.