2 Cups milk
1-1/2 Tbsp (2 packets) active dry yeast
6 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter, melted
5 to 5-1/2 Cups flour
2 tsp sea salt
1/3 Cup baking soda
3 Cups warm water
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, melted
Warm the milk in a small saucepan on the stove (or heatproof dish in the microwave) to 110°F. Sprinkle the yeast onto the warmed milk and add one tablespoon of the brown sugar, allowing yeast to “proof” for about 10 minutes.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl (preferably one used with a stand mixer). Add the butter and remaining sugar to the bowl and mix on low speed until combined. Add the flour, about 1 Cup at a time, while continuing to mix, and the add the fine salt. Knead the resulting dough for 10 minutes with the dough hook attachment on your stand mixer, or knead vigorously by hand.
Transfer kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with oiled cling wrap. Allow pretzel dough to rise for 1 hour in a moist, warm place until doubled in size (we like to let dough rise in a bowl on top of the refrigerator, next to the stove). This should take 45 min – 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Punch down the risen dough and divide into about 1 dozen equally-sized portions. On a lightly floured surface, roll each chunk of dough with your hands, to form a rope or “snake” that is as thin as you can make it (think about using clay in elementary school art class – it’s like that).
Combine the warm water and baking soda in a wide bowl, mixing until soda is completely dissolved in the water. Cut the “rope” dough into 1-1/2″ long pieces, then dip each in the baking soda water. Place each pretzel piece on an oiled baking sheet and sprinkle with coarse salt*.
Bake pretzels for about 6-10 minutes or until browned. Use a fondue fork or candy-making tool to dip each homemade pretzel in the melted butter while still hot.
*For a fun twist, try using one of our flavored salts. Smoked Bacon Salt, Roasted Garlic Salt, and Espresso Brava Salt are some of the staff favorites. You could also leave the salt off and dip the bites in Cinnamon Sugar for a sweet treat!
Adapted from Midget Momma