2 Tablespoons butter
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 package Rapid Action Dry Active Yeast
1 cup lukewarm water (110-degrees)
3 Tablespoons baking soda
1 egg white, beaten (optional)
Course Salt to taste (Sea Salt works best)
Using a counter top mixer, mix the butter and flour until evenly mixed (2-3 minutes). Add sugar, salt, yeast and water. Make sure the dough hook is now installed. Mix on high for an additional 2-3 minutes. Knead the dough until it is thoroughly mixed and it loses it's stickiness. Cover and let the dough rest and rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces and roll into ropes about 15-20 inches long on a lightly floured surface. Leave the middle part of the rope thicker than the rest of the rope. Twist into a pretzel shape, tucking the end under the bottom of the pretzel and pinching it together. Make sure both ends of the rope of dough are connected in a continuous pattern. Let the twisted dough rest and rise on the parchment paper for about ten minutes.
While the dough rises, heat 1 litre of water in a pan just to the boiling point - it should NOT come to a boil - then add the baking soda and reduce the heat just a smidgen. Gently place the uncooked pretzels into the water with a slotted spoon or spatula, one at a time. Cook for exactly 20 seconds, dunking the pretzel as it sits in the water.
Lift from the water, drain and place on a baking sheet lined with the same parchment paper. Brush with beaten egg white (this will give a shine to your pretzel). Sprinkle with Sea Salt (you do not need a lot of salt) and bake in a preheated 475-degree oven for 13 minutes.
The pretzels should be a beautiful golden brown. Cool on baking rack.