2/3 cup baking soda
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Vegetable oil, for greasing the bowl
1 tablespoon coarse pretzel salt, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Evenly sprinkle the baking soda over the prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.
Meanwhile, pour one cup of warm water into a large bowl. Whisk in the granulated sugar until dissolved. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let sit until the yeast becomes frothy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and the 2 tablespoons of melted better.
Add the flour, stirring in a bit at a time, until a dough forms and loses most of its stickiness. Knead the dough until smooth, then lift from the bowl and oil the bowl with vegetable oil. Place the dough back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
Remove the baked baking soda from the oven and set aside. (Make sure not to breathe it in or handle it with your bare hands as it can be irritating.) Preheat the oven to 450°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Spray nonstick spray on your counter or large cutting board, or use parchment paper to cover. Pour out the risen dough.
Cut the dough into strips approximately 1-1/2” wide and 8” long. Then, stretch and roll the dough strips until they are long, thin ropes, about 36″ each. Shape the ropes into the classic pretzel shape (as demonstrated in the video above).
Pour 3 cups of hot tap water into a large, non-reactive bowl. Whisk the baked baking soda into the hot water until dissolved. Briefly dip each pretzel, one at a time, into the baking solution and then place on the prepared baking sheet. You should be able to fit 6, barely touching pretzels on the sheet. Sprinkle the pretzels with pretzel salt.
Bake for 8 minutes, turning the tray 180° half-way through. Melt the remainder of the butter.
Brush the freshly baked pretzels with melted butter and serve warm.