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In a large bowl whisk together the sugar and yeast. Then add in the warm water and mix. Let sit for 10 minutes. The mixture should be very foamy. If it isn't foamy, your yeast is likely too old so you should purchase new yeast and try again.
Add the flour and melted vegan butter to the yeast mixture and stir in until a shaggy dough forms. Lightly flour a clean work surface and turn the dough onto the surface. Knead the dough for 3 - 5 minutes until it comes together into a nice firm ball of dough. Lightly grease a large clean bowl with more melted vegan butter. Put the dough into the greased bowl and cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise somewhere warm for 1 hour until doubled in size. The oven with just the light turned on is a great place to rise dough.
Once the dough has doubled in size, you can punch it down and remove it from the bowl. Cut into 8 even pieces. Take one piece and roll into a long rope about 17" (43cm) long. Twist the ends of the rope together, then fold the twisted ends over onto the middle of the rope to form a pretzel shape. (Reference the pictures on the blog for this). Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough to make 8 pretzels.
Preheat your oven to 400F (200c). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
For the baking soda bath, heat the 4 cups of water in a medium pot until it reaches a light simmer. Stir in the baking soda, it will foam a lot. Place a pretzel on a slotted spatula then dip it into the baking soda bath for 5 seconds. Now place the dipped pretzel on the prepared baking tray and sprinkle with rock salt. Repeat with the remaining pretzels. (The baking soda bath is what gives the pretzels that dark brown colour, without it they would be white and doughy).
Bake the pretzels for 12 - 15 minutes until the are dark and golden. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving then enjoy plain, with melted vegan butter, with mustard, or however you enjoy your pretzels.