Instructions

  1. For the sponge: Mix the ingredients in a small bowl, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. For the dough: Combine the sponge with the rest of the dough ingredients, mixing until the dough comes together.
  3. Knead for 8 minutes at medium-low speed in a mixer or for 10 minutes by hand, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Set the racks in your oven in the upper and lower third positions.
  6. For the water bath: Combine the water and molasses in an 8" round cake pan. Place the sesame seeds in another cake pan or pie dish.
  7. To shape: Deflate the dough and roll it into a thick log about 20" long. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Round each piece into a ball, cover with greased plastic, and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough into a rope 30" long. Fold the rope in half, pinching the ends together.
  9. Twist the ends of the folded dough in opposite directions to make a spiraled rope. Bring the ends around to form a 5" to 6" diameter ring, pinching the ends together to seal.
  10. Dip the rings in the molasses mixture, turning over to coat. Dredge the wet rings in the sesame seeds on both sides and place on the prepared baking sheets. Repeat until all are formed.
  11. Let the breads rise for 45 minutes. Halfway through the rise time, preheat the oven to 450°F.
  12. When almost doubled, spray the breads with cold water and bake for 10 minutes.
  13. Rotate the baking sheets top to bottom and reduce the oven's temperature to 425°F. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes more, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve warm.
  14. Store in a paper bag on the counter for one day; or slice and freeze for up to two months for longer storage.