Ingredients for soft pretzel dough:
- 1 ½ cups warm water
- 3 tsp yeast
- 4 ½ cups flour
- 1 1/2 tbls sugar
- 2 tsp salt
Ingredients for boiling soft pretzels:
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup baking soda
- 2 tbls dark brown sugar
Ingredients for topping soft pretzels:
- 1 large egg, whisked with 2 tbls water
- Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt
Combine the warm water and yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand a few minutes. Whisk flour, sugar and salt in a separate bowl. Pour flour mixture over water and stir with a stiff spatula until no dry parts remain. Cover with a moist towel for 10 minutes. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it holds a ball shape. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a warm moist towel until doubled in size. About 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Use a bench scraper to divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Work with one piece of dough a time. Using the palms of your hands, roll the dough into a long, skinny rope against the counter. Roll the dough until the rope is about 20 inches long.
Set the pretzel rope on a parchment-lined baking sheet and lift the ends toward the top and cross them, forming the pretzel shape. Shape the rest of the pretzels. When all the pretzels have been shaped, cover them loosely and set them aside to rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Prepare the water bath: When the pretzels are starting to look puffy, measure 8 cups of water into a large, wide pot and bring the water to a boil. Add the baking soda and the brown sugar and whisk to dissolve. Then reduce the heat and maintain a simmer.
Place 2 to 3 pretzels into the water bath top side down. Simmer for 30 seconds, then flip the pretzels over and simmer for another 30 seconds. Scoop the pretzels out of the water and return them to the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pretzels. Once all the pretzels have been dipped in the water bath, brush them with the egg and water mixture and sprinkle them with salt.
Bake the pretzels: Bake the pretzels until they are deep brown and glossy, 12 to 15 minutes.