- Sprinkle the yeast into warm water in a large mixing bowl.
- Let stand until puffy.
- Add sugar, salt, and one cup of flour; beat well.
- Add three eggs, one at a time. Beat until smooth.
- Beat in the butter and gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
- Turn out on a floured board. Knead until smooth and satiny.
- Place in a greased bowl.
- Butter the top of dough lightly. Cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Mix in the cheese if used and turn out on a floured board. Knead lightly.
- Divide into three pieces and shape into long ropes; braid the strands and tuck ends under.
- Place on a greased baking sheet and cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when thumped.