the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix 2
tablespoons of the warm water with the yeast and let stand until foamy.
Add the remaining 1 1/3 cups of warm water along with the sugar and swirl
to dissolve the sugar. Add the flour and mix at medium-low speed until a firm,
pliable dough forms.
Turn the dough out onto a
lightly floured work surface and knead for 2 minutes. Roll the dough into
a 2-foot-long sausage. Cut the dough into 20 pieces. Cover with plastic
and a damp cloth and let rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each piece of dough into
a 12-inch-long rope. To form pretzels, shape each rope into a U; cross the
two sides of the U over each other, twist and press the ends down on the
pretzel. Arrange the pretzels on a lightly floured surface about 1-inch
apart and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the pretzels rest for
Preheat the oven to 425°. In
a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a boil. Add the baking soda.
Carefully slide 5 of the pretzels into the boiling water and boil for 30
seconds, turning once. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pretzels to a
rack to drain right-side up; sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the
remaining pretzels, in 3 batches.
Lightly oil 2 baking sheets.
Arrange the pretzels on the baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle
racks of the oven for about 10 minutes, or until browned all over; shift
the pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through if
necessary, for even baking. Let the pretzels cool on the baking sheets for
about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack. Serve warm or at room
temperature, with mustard.
** MAKE AHEAD The pretzels can be
frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw, then reheat in a 350° oven before serving.