- 1 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 large egg, whisked with 2 tablespoons warm water
- Coarse sea salt
To prepare the dough:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar and salt.
- Using a stiff spatula, combine until the dough is shaggy.
- Fit the mixer with a dough hook. Knead the dough on low speed, about 5 minutes. After beginning the kneading process, add 1 tablespoon of flour if the dough is sticky. When finished, the dough should hold in a ball shape.
- Lightly oil a medium bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover, and store in a warm place. Allow the dough to rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
To prepare the pretzels:
- Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough into 8 equal pieces.
- Take a piece of dough and use the palms of your hands to roll it into a long, skinny rope about 18-20 inches in length.
- To form the classic pretzel shape, cross the ends of the pretzel rope, cross a second time to twist and fold the twisted portion over the bottom loop.
- Transfer the pretzel to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
- After all pretzels have been shaped, cover them loosely and set aside. Allow the shaped pretzels to rise until they are puffy, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven with a rack in the middle position to 450 degrees F.
- In a large, wide pot over high heat, bring 8 cups water to a rapid simmer. The water level should be at least 3 inches below the top of the pot.
- Add the baking soda and the dark brown sugar. Stir until the baking soda and brown sugar has dissolved. Reduce heat to medium so water returns to a light simmer.
- Working in batches, carefully lower 2-3 pretzels into the water bath. Simmer for 30 seconds or so. Use a slotted spoon to flip the pretzels. Simmer for another 30 seconds. Transfer the boiled pretzels to the prepared baking sheet.
- Brush the boiled pretzels with the egg, and sprinkle with salt.
- Bake the pretzels until the are browned, about 15 minutes.
- Transfer baked pretzels to a cooling rack until cool enough to eat.
Pretzel dough can be refrigerated for up to three days prior to shaping, boiling and baking.