adapted from The Kitchn
Makes 8 pretzels or pretzel-wrapped sausages
1 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tablespoon barley malt syrup, rice syrup, or dark brown sugar (I used brown sugar)
1 large egg, whisked with 2 tablespoons warm water
Coarse kosher salt or pretzel salt
Vegetable oil, for coating the bowl
1. To make the pretzel dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water and yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk by hand to dissolve the yeast. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, and sea salt. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a stiff and shaggy dough.
2. Using the dough hook of a stand mixer, knead the dough on low for 5 minutes. If the dough is very sticky after 1 minute, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time until it forms a ball and is soft, slightly tacky, and holds its shape in a ball.
3. Clean out the bowl, coat it with oil, and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in bulk, approximately 1 hour. (After this step , you can refrigerate the dough for up to 3 days before boiling and baking. Make sure dough is wrapped tightly in plastic wrap before refrigerating).
4. Once dough has risen, turn it out on a lightly floured surface, and divide into 8 equal pieces.
5. To shape the pretzels, roll each piece of dough into a long, skinny rope, about 20 in. long. Bring the ends of the rope toward the top of your work surface and cross them. Cross once again to form a twist, and then fold the twist over the bottom loop to make a pretzel shape. Place each pretzel on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and set aside while you form the rest. When all pretzels are formed, cover them loosely with a dishcloth and let rise until puffy, about 30 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and place oven rack in the middle-bottom. While pretzels are rising, prepare the water bath. Pour 8 cups of water into a tall, wide pot and place on high heat (make sure pot is tall because water will bubble up when you add the baking soda). Once water is at a rapid simmer, add the baking soda and the barley malt/rice syrup or brown sugar. Stir to dissolve, then reduce heat to medium to maintain a simmer.
7. Once pretzels have risen, lower 2-3 pretzels into water bath at a time. Simmer for 30 seconds on one side, then flip using a slotted spoon or metal spatula. Simmer for 30 seconds more, then remove from water and return to baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pretzels. They should be puffed, doughy, and slightly puckered.
8. When pretzels have simmered in the water bath, brush them with egg wash and sprinkle them with coarse kosher salt. Bake in the oven until they are deep grown and glossy, 12-15 minutes.
9. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool until they're cool enough to eat. Serve fresh and hot with homemade whole-grain beer mustard and Dogfish Head Punkin' Ale!