8 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking soda
6 shallots, peeled and chopped*
4 cups buttermilk
* You can swap the shallots with the same amount of chives or a handful of chopped, roasted garlic.
• Mix together the flour, salt, baking soda and shallots in a large mixing bowl.
• Add the buttermilk and knead until the dough holds together. Spray with cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and let rest on a table for 20 minutes.
• Place the dough on a clean, oil-free, flourless surface. Sprinkle the dough with a dusting of flour, just enough so that the dough doesn’t stick to your hands. Cut the dough into 4 equally sized pieces.
• Shape each piece into a round loaf: Cup your hands around the dough until your pinkies come together, and then pinch the dough to make it tight. You’ll see the dough start to stretch on top. Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat this process to keep the dough shaped like a ball. Repeat until you have formed a round ball. (Generally, it will take 4 or 5 turns to form a round shape.)
• Rub the loaves with vegetable oil to keep them from drying out. Let sit for 20 minutes.*
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Using a sharp knife, score the center of each loaf with two, ½-inch deep cuts to form an X.
• Bake for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
• Let cool halfway, about 20 minutes, before slicing.
* Keep the skin (the outer layer of the dough) from drying out by spraying the top of the dough with cooking spray before covering it with plastic wrap.