- 1 ½ cup water at 110°F
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ cups baking soda
- 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
- Pretzel Salt, for sprinkling
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, active dry yeast, and brown sugar. Allow to sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Sift in the flour, then add in the salt and melted butter. Mix until no large clumps of flour remain (the dough will be slightly sticky). If mixing by hand, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 additional minutes.
- Spray your mixing bowl with nonstick spray, place the dough back in, and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm, draft-free spot for about an hour, or until doubled in size. (See notes.)
- Turn the dough out onto a floured counter. Using a pizza cutter or a long knife, divide the dough into 12 even-sized wedges.
- Spray a 3 quart baking dish with nonstick spray. Form each dough wedge into a sphere by pulling the edges toward the center and pinching them together. Place the dough in the prepared baking dish, seam-side down, and space evenly apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise for an additional hour. Then prepare the baking soda bath.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. In a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil. Remove from heat and slowly add the baking soda, a bit at a time, whisking to combine. Place back on heat and lower to a simmer.
- One at a time, transfer a risen dough ball into the baking soda bath, seam side down, and poach for 30 seconds. Then turn over and continue to poach for 30 more seconds. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the poached dough back to the prepared baking dish, making sure not to transfer too much of the baking solution with it (or you’ll wind up with soggy-bottomed pretzels). Continue until all of the dough balls have been poached and they fit snugly together.
- Brush the dough balls lightly with the egg wash, making sure to get in the nooks between the dough balls. Sprinkle with pretzel salt.
- Using a sharp paring knife, make two slashes in the tops of the dough balls. Transfer to the oven and bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until cooked through and well-browned. Let cool slightly in the pan and then gently lift out to serve.
When it’s cold out, it may take longer for your dough to rise. To prevent this, I usually preheat my oven to the lowest setting, turn the oven off, let it cool for 5 minutes, and then place my bowl of dough in there to rise. The slight additional heat will help, and keeping the oven door closed prevents drafts.