Yeast Sponge: In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup bread flour, 3 teaspoons instant yeast, and 1/2 cup milk; mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and let sit for 1 hour before using in the bread preparation.
In the bread pan of your bread machine, add yeast sponge, eggs, butter, salt, Parmesan cheese, and bread flour. Select dough setting and press start. Check the dough (don't be afraid to open the lid). It should form a nice elastic ball. If you think the dough is too moist, add additional flour (a tablespoon at a time). The same is true if the dough is looking dry and gnarly. Add warm water (a tablespoon at a time).
When dough cycle has finished, remove dough from pan and turn out onto a lightly oiled surface (I use a nonstick cooking spray). Form dough into an oval, cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
After resting, turn dough bottom side up and press to flatten. Shape dough into a loaf and place in a loaf pan that's been coated with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for approximately 1 hour or until doubled.
Oven Rising: Sometimes I use my oven for the rising. Turn the oven on for a minute or so, then turn it off again. This will warm the oven and make it a great environment for rising bread. If you can not comfortably press your hand against the inside of the oven door, the oven is too hot. Let it stand open to cool a bit.
Cool or Refrigerator Rise: If I do not have the time to wait for the rise to finish or I know that I will be interrupted before the completed rise, I do a cool rise. A cool rise is when the dough is place in the refrigerator and left to rise slowly over night approximately 8 to 12 hours. I usually do this after the first rise and the dough has been shaped into a loaf.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 50 minutes or until loaf sounds hollow when tapped. A good check is to use an instant digital thermometer to test your bread. The temperature should be between 200 and 210 degrees F.
This is the type of cooking and meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking. I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer shown in the photo on the right. To learn more about this excellent thermometer and to also purchase one (if you desire), just click on the underlined: Thermapen Thermometer.
Remove from oven and cool on a bread rack for about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let baked loaf cool for 30 minutes before cutting (this is because the bread is still cooking while it is cooling).
This bread is best eaten the day it is made. Do not freeze, as the bread will get too dry.
Makes a 1 1/2-pound loaf.