1 1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 ounces melted butter
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tbsp water
more kosher salt
Combine the warm water, sugar, and 1 tsp kosher salt in a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes; the mixture should start to foam. Add the flour and butter and mix with a hook attachment until well combined. Then change your mixer to medium and let it knead the bread for 4 or 5 minutes. Remove the dough, clean the bowl, oil the bowl, set the dough back in. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 50-55 minutes or until the dough doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two cookie pans with parchment paper or oil really well. Set aside. Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in a big pot.
While you're waiting, oil up your counter and pull the dough out. Divide it into 8 equal pieces.
Roll out each piece of the dough into a long rope (about 18 inches or so). Make a U-shape with the rope.
Cross the ends of the rope over each other to create the pretzel shape.
One by one, place each pretzel into the boiling mixture for about 30 seconds.
I was so afraid they would come apart in the pot but they turned out just fine! The baking soda and water just made the pretzels puff up some and hold together.
When the pretzels are back on the cookie sheets, brush the top of them with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture. Sprinkle on as much kosher salt as you desire. Be careful, that stuff is potent.
Bake until they are a dark, golden brown. It took mine about 12 or 14 minutes.
The best part of the pretzels is that they can be frozen and then nuked later and they will taste just like new! Also, you can take some to your great-grandmother.