Put 1/2 cup water in 2 cup measuring cup. Heat to 110 deg F. Sprinkle in yeast and 1/4 tsp sugar. Stir to dissolve yeast. In separate bowl, warm milk and butter to 100-110 deg F. Then mix in lightly beaten egg.
In large bowl, whisk together, 5 cups of the flour, salt and sugar. Make a hollow in the flour and pour in both the yeast and milk mixtures.
Using a large spoon or spatula, pull the flour into the center of the bowl. Continue pulling in and adding flour (may have to start using hands) until the dough forms a ball and can be turned out to be kneaded on a floured counter.
Knead for 10 minutes, adding flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking to hands and counter.
Spray a large bowl or proofing container with cooking spray. Place dough in container, spray top and cover with lid or plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 2 hours or until double.
Punch down and divide into two, placing half the dough back in the bowl and covering it. Divide the other piece into 12 pieces. Shape each piece into a 5" rope and tie into simple knot.
Place knots on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray (or silicone mat). Spray tops with cooking spray and cover with towel. Let rise for 30-45 minutes. Repeat with other ball of dough.
Bake at 365 deg F for 20 minutes or until golden brown on top and lightly browned on bottom. Remove from oven, brush tops with butter and place on rack to cool.
Dough can be refrigerated overnight. To use the next day, just put in a proofing bowl and let double. Then shape, rise and bake.