Heat milk and butter until warm (120° to 130°F); the butter will not completely melt. Combine with undissolved yeast and brown sugar in a large mixer bowl. Stir in salt and 2 cups flour, beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine water and baking soda and bring to a boil. Punch dough down and divide into 2 equal pieces. Form each piece into a tight, smooth ball. Boil each loaf in the solution for 2 minutes, turning after 1 minute. Remove loaves from pot using a slotted spoon and place on a greased baking sheet.
Brush with egg wash and cut a cross in the top. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake an additional 10 to 12 minutes until the loaves are evenly browned. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.
Rolls: Divide dough into 8 pieces and roll each into a ball. Use same procedure as listed above. Boil, egg wash, score top and bake for the same amount of time.
Chocolate Rolls: Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk, place 1/2-ounce of chocolate in the center of the disk then fold up the edges to seal the chocolate in the roll. Continue with same process for rolls.