1 packet (2 1/4 tsps) active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (110 – 120 degrees)
2 Tbsp. milk, room temperature
1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar
3 Tbsps. melted butter, room temperature
1 tsp. coarse salt
3 cups bread flour (spooned and leveled)
4 quarts of water
1/2 cup baking soda
Coarse salt to taste
2 Tbsps. melted butter
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl, combine the yeast, water, milk, brown sugar, and butter. Let the mixture rest for 10 minutes so the yeast come alive.
- Mix in the coarse salt, then the flour, one cup at a time. The dough will be tacky.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray or coat with oil. Transfer the dough to the bowl, flip to coat on both sides, and cover with plastic wrap for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Return the dough to the bowl, flip to cover both sides, and re-cover for an hour, or until roughly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring 4 quarts (16 cups) of water to a boil. Gently deflate the dough and cut in half using a sharp knife or bench scraper. Shape each half into a round loaf.
- Slowly add the 1/2 cup of baking soda to the boiling water (it will bubble). Place one piece of dough onto a large slotted spoon and gently lower into the boiling water. Use the spoon to flip the dough in the boiling water for around 20 seconds, then lift the dough out of the water with the slotted spoon – allow the excess water to drip back into the pot.
- Set the dough onto a greased baking sheet. Repeat the water bath with the remaining dough. Sprinkle both rounds with coarse salt, then slash an X on the top of each with a sharp knife so the bread can expand while it bakes.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through.
- Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
Recipe and photo from The Apron Archives.