In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Slowly add the 1/2 cup of flour and mix until all lumps of flour have dissolved, to form a thick liquid. Allow to rise about 15-20 minutes.
Sift the remaining flour with the salt, put in a large mixing bowl, and make a well in the centre. Add oil, honey, milk, yeast mixture (or sourdough starter) and 2 cups of the water in the well. Pulling in the flour slowly, mix with hands until it’s a cohesive mass. Turn out onto a floured surface and continue kneading until the dough is nice and smooth and no longer sticks to the hands.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled mixing bowl and roll until all sides of the dough are lightly oiled. Cover the bowl with three dishtowels: one dry, one dampened with warm water (wet towel and wring out), and the other dry. Place in a warm place and allow to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Punch down and knead for 5-6 minutes on a floured surface. Divide the dough into the number of loaves you want to make (this works well in 3-4 loaves), and form into round or oblong or baguette shaped loaves. Place 10 cm apart on ungreased cookie sheets and cover with three clean dishtowels (the middle one damp). In a warm place, allow the loaves to rise for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 220°C. For a thicker crust, score the tops of the loaves in 3 or 4 places. Otherwise, bake as is on the rack just below the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes until browned. When tapped on the bottom, bread will sound hollow. When the loaves are done, remove from oven and cool on racks.