- 1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted), plus more for greasing
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/3 cup baking soda
- 3 cups warm water
For garlic parmesan pretzels:
- 6 tablespoons grated parmesan
- 2 and 1/2 teaspoons granulated garlic powder
- Warm the milk in a saucepan until it’s about 110 degrees; pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about 2 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, keep mixing. Add the rest of the flour and the salt. The dough is going to get really sticky.
- Dump the dough out onto a floured surface and knead. If the dough is too sticky add a few teaspoons of flour at a time until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky. The whole process should take 5 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
- If you’re making the garlic parmesan pretzels: Combine the parmesan and the granulated garlic. Set aside for later use. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Line with parchment or a silicone pad. When the dough has risen, punch the dough to deflate it. Then turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Add 3 tablespoons of the garlic parmesan mixture and continue to knead the dough until the mixture is spread evenly. Check to see if the dough is tight. If it is, cover and let rest until it relaxes.
- Divide the dough into 6 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a 30-inch rope, holding the ends and slapping the middle of the rope on the counter as you stretch. Form each rope into a pretzel shape.
- Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel into the baking soda bath. Arrange pretzels on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse salt if making regular pretzels (see note). Bake until golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Brush bottoms of pretzels with melted butter. Flip pretzels over and continue to brush the butter. Sprinkle the remaining garlic parmesan mixture over the pretzels.
- For regular pretzels: omit the garlic parmesan mixture from the dough and as a topping. Sprinkle the pretzels with coarse salt prior to baking.
- For cinnamon sugar pretzels:* combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon cinnamon. Divide the dough and bake without any additions in the dough, following the steps listed in the instructions. After brushing the baked pretzels with butter, sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over the pretzels generously. Alternately, you can place the cinnamon-sugar mixture in a shallow dish and dip each side of the pretzel until evenly coated.