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Yield: 8 pretzels


1 cups warm water
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3-1/4 cups high-gluten flour
4 cups water
4 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons caraway seed
4 teaspoons coarse sea salt


Combine the water, yeast, sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour and run the machine on low until the dough begins to pull together and pull away from the sides. Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough for 8 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each into a strand about 12 inches long, then shape the strand into a pretzel. Transfer the pretzels to baking sheets and cover them with a towel or plastic wrap. Allow the pretzels to rest for 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat an oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and bring 4 cups of water and 4 teaspoons of baking soda to a boil in a pot or skillet.

Poach the pretzels a few at a time, cooking them for 30 seconds on each side, and transfer them to a baking sheet that has been coated them with butter or shortening. Sprinkle the poached pretzels with the caraway seeds and coarse salt. Bake the pretzels on the center rack of the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they are crisp and a deep golden brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool.