Have you ever tried to make a pretzel from scratch? Don’t be intimidated by the twisting motion! If you’re nervous, try practicing with a piece of string. That way, once you get to the real thing, you’re already a pro!
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine 1 cup of the warm water, the yeast, and sugar. Let stand until mixture is foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in the melted butter and salt. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, and knead on medium-low speed until a dough forms and is no longer sticky. Add a bit more flour if the dough is too sticky. Continue to knead for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pliable.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and form it into a ball. Clean the mixing bowl and coat with oil. Return the dough to the bowl and cover to rest in a warm, dry place for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, boil the remaining 2 cups water with the baking soda.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into
12 even pieces. Roll each piece into a rope 15 to 18 inches long. Working with 1 rope at a time, pull the ends up to meet in the middle, twist them a couple of times, and attach them to the bottom edge of the pretzel dough. Place in the baking soda bath for 2 minutes. Carefully remove from the water and place on the baking sheet. Brush the pretzels with the egg yolk and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve.
Variations: Try different toppings, such as poppy seeds, caraway seeds, or a blend of all your favorite spices.