2 and 1/4 teaspoons instant or active dry yeast(1 standard packet)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
3 and 3/4-4 cups all-purpose flour(spooned & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
coarse salt or coarse sea saltfor sprinkling
Baking Soda Bath (See Recipe Note)
1/2 cup baking soda
9 cups water
Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Whisk in salt, sugar, and melted butter. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more, as needed. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats are highly recommended over parchment paper. If using parchment paper, lightly spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter. Set aside.
With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 1/3 cup sections.
Roll the dough into a 20-22 inch rope. Form a circle with the dough by bringing the two ends together at the top of the circle. Twist the ends together. Bring the twisted ends back down towards yourself and press them down to form a pretzel shape.
Bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop 1-2 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. Using a slotted spatula, lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. Repeat with remaining pretzels. If desired, you can cover and refrigerate the boiled/unbaked pretzels for up to 24 hours before baking in step 7.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and serve warm with mustard or nacho cheese sauce.
Cover and store leftover pretzels at room temperature for up to 3 days. They lose a little softness over time. To reheat, microwave for a few seconds, or bake at 350°F (177°C) for 5 minutes.
Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: Skip the coarse salt topping. Bake as directed in step 7. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tablespoons (60g) of unsalted or salted butter (your choice). Brush the baked and warm pretzels with melted butter then dip the tops into a mix of cinnamon and sugar. Cinnamon sugar pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.