These pretzels are a bit labor intensive, and take time, but are so worth it. I usually just make them for New Year's Eve and the Superbowl. But a friend had one on Superbowl Sunday and asked me to teach her how. We got together last Saturday and she even took pictures!
I prefer to let a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook do the kneading, so I wrote the directions that way.
1 (.25 oz.) package active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 ½ cups warm water (110F)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 teaspoons table salt
1 cup bread flour
2 cups hot water (or microwave for 3 minutes)
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons coarse, kosher salt
1. In stand mixer, place yeast, brown sugar, and warm water. Mix slightly. Let sit for ten minutes.
2. Add all-purpose flour, then salt, then bread flour. Mix on low until dough comes together. Check to make sure dough is cleaning the sides of the mixer. If not add more flour.
3. Mix on medium for about 8 minutes. Put dough in well-greased bowl. Turn dough once to coat all sides with grease. (I usually use butter to grease the bowl.) Cover and let rise for one hour or until doubled in size.
4. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Combine hot water with baking soda in an 8-inch square pan.
6. After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into long rope, as skinny as you can get it without breaking. Twist into pretzel shape, then dip into baking soda solution. Place on parchment covered baking sheets and let rise for 15-20 minutes.
7. Bake at 450F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt.
8. Best eaten warm!
Variations: Try sprinkling with garlic salt or cinnamon sugar instead.
If you don't have a stand mixer with a dough hook, you can knead the dough by hand.