1 3/4 cups milk, warmed to 110 degrees F. (bathwater warm)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3-3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
Coarse salt for sprinkling
7-8 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
4 tablespoons baking soda
Place the warmed milk in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the olive oil and the yeast. Let this mixture stand for about 5 minutes or until it starts to foam (this way you know the yeast is working). Add three cups of the flour and the salt.
Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for about 5 minutes, adding additional flour, if needed. The dough should nearly clean the sides of the bowl, but still be a little tacky. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface. Knead lightly, by hand, for about a minute until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and turn it over so that both sides are oiled. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rise in a draft-free area until it's doubled, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.; Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Punch the dough down and plop it on a floured surface ( I prefer my Silpat), then divide it into 8 pieces. Form each piece of dough into a ball, slightly flattened. Place the dough balls on the lined baking pan, cover and allow to rise for an additional 20 minutes.
While the buns are rising, prepare the water bath. In a large pot, combine the water, salt, and baking soda; bring to a rolling boil. Gently drop the dough buns into the boiling water, two at a time, and let them "poach" for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove them with a slotted spoon and place them back on the lined baking pan. Using a serrated knife, cut 2-3 lines across each bun and sprinkle with course salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the buns are a deep brown. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Pairs Well With
I saw a photo of some beautiful pretzel buns on Pinterest. I had to make some. So I did.