STARTER: Combine well then store at room temperature for 24 hours in a glass jar or plastic bowl (do not use metal) over top with a dish towel to allow it can breathe. After 24 hours you can start bread. If you're not ready to start bread, refrigerate starter. Cover jar or bowl with it's lid. Feed starter every 5 days.
TO FEED STARTER: Mix 3 TBSP instant potato flakes, 3/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 cup warm water. Mix starter into this & let stand 24 hours at room temperature in glass or plastic (do not use metal). Cover jar or bowl with dish towel to allow it to breathe.
BREAD: Take out 1 cup of starter and refrigerate the rest or give a friend 1 cup. In a large bowl mix 1 cup of starter along with 6 cups of bread flour, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup oil & 1 1/2 cups warm water and salt if using.
Grease another large bowl & put in dough, turning once to grease all sides. Cover lightly with foil & let stand for 8 to 10 hours at room temperature to allow it to rise. Make sure it's in a warm room and out of a draft.
After 8 to 10 hours punch down and knead a little then divide dough into 4 parts. Knead each part on a floured surface 8 to 10 times.
***Shape into loaves by hand & place into 4 well greased loaf pans and brush lightly with oil. Cover with foil. Let rise 8 to 12 hours at room temperature (in a warm room) out of draft.
Preheat oven to 350. Remove foil and bake at 350 for approximately 30-40 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with butter (optional) and serve warm or cold.
Note: One of my friends uses her oven (with the light on & keeps the door closed until time to take out) while the bread is rising.
***CINNAMON ROLLS: Rather than making into 4 loaves you can make 2 loaves and gently roll the other half out (I use my hands for this along with a rolling pin). Spread thin layer of very soft butter onto the dough, then sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon and raisins if you like. Use your judgement on the amounts. Now roll up , jelly-roll style, and cut into an inch in thickness. Place these rolls onto a buttered cookie sheet and cover with foil and let rise at room temperature in a warm room out of a draft. Remove foil and bake at 350 until golden brown. Make your glaze by using powdered sugar & either milk, orange juice (with zest) or lemon juice (with zest) and glaze each cinnamon roll while still warm.
My sister just makes balls rather than 4 loaves at this point (using the same concept) for dinner rolls. Or make 1 loaf, cinnamon rolls and dinner rolls. Or you can make half dinner & half cinnamon rolls. Just have fun and get creative with this bread.