1 cup milk
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
6 tablespoons butter (2 T. for pretzels, 4 T. for brushing on top after baked.
1/3 cup baking soda dissolved in 3 cups warm water (for dipping before baking).
coarse salt and/or cinnamon sugar for topping.
Warm the milk in a saucepan then pour into a medium bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Let the yeast soften, about two minutes. Stir in brown sugar and 1 cup flour with a wooden spoon. Dice 2 tablespoons soft butter and stir into the mix. Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups flour to make a sticky dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 4 minutes. Shape into a ball and place into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven 450 degrees and grease or spray with pam a large baking sheet.
When dough has risen punch it down to deflate. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into six pieces. Roll and stretch the dough with your hands into 30-inch ropes. Form each rope into pretzel shape. Make sure you twist the pretzel dough in the middle and not just crisscross it.
Dissolve the baking soda in 3 cups warm water in a shallow baking dish. Gently dip each pretzel in the soda solution and sprinkle on the salt if using, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet.
Bake until golden, 10-12 minutes. Makes six.
Let pretzels cool about 5 minutes or so and brush salted pretzels with melted butter or brush plain pretzels with melted butter and then dip in cinnamon sugar mixture.