-5 1/2 cups flour
-1 Tbs active yeast
-2 Tbs sugar
-1 Tbs salt
-2 cups hot water
-sesame or poppy seeds, optional
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In your mixer's bowl, mix 4 cups of the flour with the yeast, sugar and salt. Pour in the hot water and, using the hook attachment, mix for about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead for 10 minutes.
Remove the hook attachment and cover the bowl with a damp towel. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
After that, punch down the dough. Divide into 2 and shape into large balls. Place loaves onto prepared sheet. Cut a few slashes (about 1/2 inch deep) into each loaf. Brush each loaf with some warm water on top. If desired, sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
Place a small pan half full with hot water on bottom of oven. Place the bread on the middle shelf of the cold oven. Heat the oven to 400 F.
Bake for about 40 minutes (including the time it takes for the oven to heat up) or until the loaves reach a beautiful golden brown.