1 cup warm water
3/4 cups milk
4-4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tsp instant yeast
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 Tsp kosher salt
Coarse sea salt (for topping)
2 quarts water
1 Tbsp salt
1/4 cup baking soda
1) Mix and knead the dough ingredients in a medium/large bowl— by hand or mixer — to form a slightly sticky dough. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes until smooth and silky.
2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rest in warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled.
3) Gently deflate the dough, and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a smooth ball.
4) Place the balls on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes (they will puff a little). Preheat the oven to 400°F.
5) Prepare the water bath: Add the water, salt, and baking soda to a large pot and bring to a boil.
6) Drop 2-3 dough balls at a time into the boiling water bath.
7) Let the balls simmer for 30 seconds on each side. Then, using a slotted spoon, return the buns to the greased baking sheet.
8) Using scissors, cut crosses into the center of each bun (2-3cm deep). Sprinkle the wet buns with coarse sea salt.
9) Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they're a dark, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.