Ranch Loaves

(This is a favorite of all my daughters and has won a purple ribbon at the county fair.)

2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm buttermilk (110-115 degrees)
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 eggs
1 envelope original ranch salad dressing mix
2 teaspoons salt
8-9 cups all-purpose flour

In mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 teaspoon sugar; let stand for five minutes. Add the warm buttermilk, butter, eggs, ranch dressing mix, salt, 4 cups flour and remaining sugar; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place on a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into fourths. Roll each portion into a 14-in x 12-in rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under. Place seam side down on two greased baking sheets. With a sharp knife, make five shallow slashes across the top of each loaf. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Makes 4 loaves. May wrap and freeze if desired.
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