For the dough
¾ cup warm water (110°F)
1 ¼ tsp of active dry yeast (half of a .25 ounce package)
1 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup warm water (110°F)
2 tbsp baking soda (for soaking)
For the tops
½ tbsp butter, melted
coarse kosher salt (or pretzel salt) & sesame seed
Pour ¾ cup warm water into a mixing bowl. Dissolve yeast, brown sugar, and salt into the water. Stir in flour. When the mixture comes together, dump it onto a floured surface. (If you find that the dough is too dry and refuses to incorporate, add more warm water a little bit at a time.) Knead dough for about 8 minutes, until smooth. Pour a few drops of olive oil into the mixing bowl; place dough back in and turn to coat surface. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
When the dough is ready, cut into 6 or 8 pieces. Roll each into ½ inch thick ropes. Shape the pretzels by forming a U, then twisting ends and flipping over onto itself, gently pressing overlapping dough to seal. Let rise for 15 minutes.
Fill a bowl with 1 cup warm water and stir in the baking soda. Soak each pretzel for 30 seconds, flipping over halfway through if not fully submerged. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle coarse salt and sesame seed over the top. (If you prefer sweet pretzels, use cinnamon sugar instead of salt.) Bake at 450°F for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. For an extra buttery flavor, brush on a little more melted butter when the pretzels come out of the oven.
Surprisingly easy and completely stress-free! I decided to make smaller ones because there were more than six people around at the time. Note: they’re better eaten the day of while they’re still chewey and freshly baked, because they get stale reaaal fast. Like real fast. After a day. Don’t even bother trying to save some.