Prep: 70 min. + rising Bake: 10 min.
32 pretzel rods
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
8 cups water
1/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon cold water
Coarse salt, optional
Warm cheese sauce, optional
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, butter, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
In a large saucepan, bring 8 cups water and baking soda to a boil. Punch dough down; divide into 32 portions. Roll each into a 5-in. log. Add to boiling water, a few at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
Place on greased baking sheets. Lightly beat egg yolk and cold water; brush over pretzels. If desired, sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake 425° until golden brown, 9-11 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks. Serve warm with cheese sauce, if desired.
1 pretzel: 69 calories, 1g fat (1g saturated fat), 8mg cholesterol, 156mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.