1 envelope yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup warm water
pinch of ginger (helps activate the yeast)
2 cups warm buttermilk
⅓ cup honey
¼ cup butter, melted and cooled so that it is warm to the touch but not hot.
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
6 cups white bread flour
Mix the ginger, sugar,yeast, and water and set aside for five minutes.
Mix buttermilk, honey, salt, baking soda in with the yeast mixture. Add three cups of flour and mix until smooth. On an electric mixer it is about 5 minutes on low speed. Mix in butter until it is totally incorporated into batter. Now, begin to add the rest of the flour, one cup at a time, keeping mixer on low speed. When dough pulls from the sides of the bowl remove it from the mixer to a floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth.
Place in greased bowl, turn to grease the top, cover and allow to rise for 1½ hours.
Punch down and form into two loaves. Place in greased loaf pans and grease tops. Cover, and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 200C. Bake for 30 minutes, covering tops with foil if they brown too fast.
Remove loaves from oven and brush with melted butter. Allow to cool in pans for 10 minutes. Turn out and cool completely on a rack. Cover the loaves if you want soft crust