Pour the warm water into the large bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and stir in ¼ teaspoon sugar. Allow the mixture to stand for 10 minutes or until it starts to bubble and grow. Fit the mixer with the dough hook.
Add the flour, sugar, butter and egg white to the yeast mixture and about ½ the milk. With the mixer set on low start blending in the flour mixture. Add the remaining milk as needed. When the flour has been almost fully incorporated raise the mixing speed to medium and knead the dough for 7 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. The dough should form a ball during the kneading.
If it does not, add additional liquid a teaspoon at a time just until a ball is formed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a clean dry towel. Allow it to stand in a warm draft free place for 1 to 3 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces and roll each piece into a 12 inch log.
Grease a large baking pan liberally with butter. Place the dough logs on the tray, brush with melted butter and bake for 15-17 minutes or until lightly browned. Allow the breads to cool completely before storing. Slice thinly and toast if desired. Serve with dips and spreads or cheese.
These ubiquitous, delicately sweet biscuits are also great for breakfast, toasted and topped with butter or jam. Freeze any extra loaves for use when unexpected company comes over for a drink and a snack.