- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water – 100 to 110 degrees F (40 to 45 degrees C)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons half-and-half
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups bread flour, or more if needed
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
- Cooking spray
- 5 tablespoons baking soda
- 3 tablespoons honey, or to taste (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted (optional)
Stir dark brown sugar, 1 tablespoon honey, and yeast into warm water in a large bowl, dissolving sugar and yeast. Let stand until a foamy layer forms on the water, about 10 minutes. Stir 3 tablespoons melted butter, half-and-half, and salt into yeast mixture.
Beat 1 cup flour to wet ingredients, forming a wet, sloppy dough. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface and gradually knead remaining 1 cup flour into dough until dough is only slightly sticky, about 10 more minutes. Add more flour if dough is too wet. Form dough into a ball.
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Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon butter; place dough ball into bowl and turn to lightly coat with butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm area until doubled, 1 hour to 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Stir baking soda and 3 tablespoons honey (if you like a sweeter crust) into a large pot of water and bring to a full rolling boil. Punch down dough and divide in half. Form each half into a small loaf. Carefully drop a loaf into the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Dough should float. Remove loaf gently and let excess water drip off; place loaf on prepared baking sheet. Boil the second loaf, following same steps, and place onto baking sheet.
Sprinkle each loaf lightly with salt. Use a sharp knife to cut an X shape into the top of each loaf.
Bake on a center rack in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and continue baking until crust is shiny and browned and loaves are done in the middle, 10 more minutes. For a softer crust, brush tops of loaves with melted butter.