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For the Dough: Mix yeast, sea salt, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl, whisking until sugar dissolves. Let stand until foamy, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Place flour into a large bowl. Using two butter knives, a pastry cutter, or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Slowly pour yeast mixture over flour mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon or your hands to combine. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until it is no longer sticky, about 5 minutes.
Lightly brush a large bowl with oil and turn the dough to coat. Cover with plastic, and let rise in a warm place, until the dough has doubled in size. About 1 hour. (Kamran note: If you want, you can place the covered bowl of dough in the refrigerator over night)
Cut dough into 12 equal pieces, and roll each into an 18-inch rope. Form a U shape with 1 rope, and twist ends together twice. Fold twisted portions backward along center of U shape to form a circle, then gently press ends of rope onto dough to seal.
Transfer to an oiled baking sheet, and repeat. Let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 475ºF.
Boil the Dough: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and add baking soda and the 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Boil pretzels in batches until puffed and slightly shiny, about 30 seconds a side.
Transfer to wire racks to drain. Place pretzels on a liberally oiled baking sheet.
Glaze and Bake: Mix the 1 teaspoon water and egg in a small bowl. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash. Sprinkle the with the pretzel salt or course grain sea salt (I used the latter).
Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Pretzels will keep, uncovered, at room temperature for up to 12 hours. Re-warm in a 250ºF / 130ºC oven if desired, and serve with your favorite mustard or cheese dip.