Place sugars, yeast and water to a mixing bowl. (If you can, test the temperature of the water. It should be around 110 degrees, but no hotter than 120 degrees. A good way to test, is to aim for the same temperature you would make a baby bottle. It should be warm but not hot.)
Mix the yeast mixture gently with a wooden or plastic spoon.
Allow the yeast to rest in a warm place for about 5 minutes. It will be foamy when it is ready.
Add the melted butter to the yeast mixture, give it a gentle stir with your wooden spoon.
Add the salt and flour, one cup at a time, gently mixing with a wooden spoon until all of the flour is incorporated and the dough no longer feels sticky. If you need to, add extra flour, one half cup at a time.
Pull the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and flexible, and not sticky.
Place the dough in an oiled/ buttered bowl. You can drizzle a little (less than a teaspoon) of oil or cooled melted butter, directly onto the dough to keep it from drying out.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size.
While the dough rises, prepare the bath by adding the water and baking soda and stirring them together. The soda will settle and need to be stirred frequently during the dipping process. No boiling is required, just a simple dunk into the cold water.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Tear off sections of dough that are about the size of small oranges, and roll the shape of the dough into uniform balls.
Pick up the dough balls and dip them into the baking soda water and press it on a baking sheet.
Leave about 2” of space between the dough balls.
Using a sharp knife, score the bread balls 2 to 4 times with a sharp knife. This doesn’t have to be perfect; things will even out during the baking process.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
When you remove the bowls from the oven, you can brush them with melted butter, if you like.
Allow the bowls to cool for at least 20 minutes before you hollow out the centers.
When the bread bowls are cool to the touch, with a bread knife, slice the top off.
The trimming should just be a thin slice of crust from the top. Set aside.
With a spoon, hollow out the fluffy center of the bread bowl. Be gentle as you reach the bottom of the bowl to leave the crust intact.
Ladle in your favorite soup or stew and top the bowls with the little top crust that was trimmed earlier.