1cupmilk (I've tested with dairy milk and oat milk)(230 grams/8 oz)
2 1/4teaspoonsinstant yeast (SAF)
1 1/2tablespoongranulated sugar(18 grams)
1 1/2tablespoonsbrown sugar(18 grams)
3cupsbread flour, measure by weighing(390 grams)
1teaspoonkosher salt (scant or you can use 3/4 if desired)
4tablespoonsmelted unsalted butter
Pretzel salt or Maldon sea salt
In a microwave-safe measuring cup, heat the milk for about 30 seconds. Insert a thermometer and make sure it's between 110 and 115 degrees F. Pour milk into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast and stir, then let stand for about 5 minutes or until mixture starts to bubble (and you are sure the yeast is active).
To the yeast mixture, add the sugar, 3 cups (390 grams in this case) of flour, salt and melted butter. Stir the best you can by hand, then transfer to the stand mixer and begin mixing with the dough hook. Let the dough hook mix it until it seems well blended, then continue kneading with the dough hook until the dough is smooth and elastic. It should not be sticky at all, nor too dry. If you feel like it's sticky add a little more flour, but if it's dry add a few teaspoons of water.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in warm spot in the kitchen until doubled (45 minutes to an hour).
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray (or rub with a little vegetable oil)
Bring the water and the baking soda to a boil in a large pot while you shape the pretzels.
Turn the dough out onto a pastry mat and roll it into a rectangle that's about 16 inches by 8 inches. Using a pizza cutter, cut 8 equal size strips. Working one strip at a time, use your finger tips to roll the strip into a long (24 inch) tube. If the dough seems to be at all dry or cracking, slick it with a little oil or butter as you roll. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other, twist (I don't always twist), then bring down and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pans.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water (as many as you can fit, for me it's usually two) and boil for about 30 seconds. You don't have to turn them, just make sure that some of the water is covering the top sides.. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula, letting excess moisture drain off. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk (shiny) or beaten egg (less shiny) or just white (least shiny) and sprinkle with your choice of salt or Everything Bagel seasoning.
Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.
I've been using 1 scant teaspoon of Morton kosher. If you want a less salty dough, you can decrease to 3/4 teaspoon. If you use salted butter or vegan butter, definitely decrease to 3/4 teaspoon.