This recipe was a big hit! Having a good thermometer helped, as you don't want to get the initial milk/butter too hot so that it kills the yeast. It's also helpful to take an internal temp of the bread towards the end of baking, as it browns quite a bit, so you can't go by "looks."
This bread is pictured with butter, but it did not need it! It's wonderfully soft inside, with a distinctive pretzel tasting crust.
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 envelope yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp yeast)
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups all-purpose flour, or more as
3 quarts water
3/4 cup baking soda
1 teaspoon water
1. Melt butter in microwave. Combine milk and butter and heat until warm (100 degrees to 110 degrees F). Combine with undissolved yeast and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl. Stir in salt and 2 cups flour, beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. *I put on the dough hook and let the mixer knead for at least 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
2. Preheat oven to 400°.
3. Combine boiling solution and bring to a boil. Punch dough down and divide into 2 equal pieces. Form each piece into a tight, smooth ball. Boil each loaf in the solution for 2 minutes, turning after 1 minute. Remove loaves from pot using a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet *or a Silpat.
4. Brush all sides with egg wash and cut a cross in the top with serrated knife. Bake for 15 minutes; then reduce the temperature to 350° and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes until the loaves are evenly browned and internal temp is 190° - 200°. *After 10 minutes, mine was only 180°, so I left it in for another 4-5 minutes. I also had to tent with foil after the first 5 minutes at 350°, as it was already a deep brown. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.