- 2 tablespoons of room temperature or softened butter, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons sugar (divided)
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup starter
- 4 cups AP flour
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 egg
- sea, kosher, or pretzel salt OR cinnamon and sugar for sprinkling
- Mixing bowl
- Baking sheets
- Slotted spoon
- Cooling rack
- Pot for boiling water
- In a large bowl, dissolve the butter and 1 tablespoon of sugar in the hot water
- Mix in the starter and the three cups of AP flour. Mix until the dough is as smooth as possible.
- Scoop the dough onto a well-floured surface and start to knead it. Add the remaining cup of flour a little at a time, kneading it into the dough.
- Once all the flour has been combined, continue to knead for several minutes until the dough is smooth and stiff.
- Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl in a warm place, and allow to rise for about 2 hours.
- Once risen, punch the dough down gently and turn onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll the dough into a thick log. Cut it into 16 pieces for large pretzels, or 32 for small ones. This is easiest if you start by cutting the log in half, then each half in half, and so on.
- Roll each piece out into a long strip and shape as desired (you can use the standard pretzel shape, or any other shape you wish).
- Bring a pot of water to a boil. Carefully add the remaining tablespoon of sugar and the 1/4 cup of baking soda. The water will fizz when you add the baking soda. Mix carefully. Begin preheating the oven to 450 degrees (F).
- Using a slotted spoon to add and remove pretzels, poach each pretzel for about a minute. Remove them from the water and let them drain on a cooling rack.
- Lightly beat an egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Brush each pretzel with the mixture.
- If using salt, sprinkle each pretzels with the salt, to taste
- Transfer the pretzels to a greased baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
- If using cinnamon and sugar, brush each pretzel with melted butter and dust with cinnamon and sugar, to taste.
The pretzels will keep for about a week, but will start to dry out after a few days. Consider freezing half the batch after baking, then when you’re ready to eat them bake them at 350 degrees (F) for about 10 minutes for fresher pretzels.