4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
1/4 cup kosher salt, for topping
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water ( I did have to add about 2 tablespoons additional water for the bread machine). Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a large bowl, dissolve baking soda in hot water.
When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt (optional: you can also brush melted butter on the pretzel before baking)
Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned.
**As I mentioned I did modify it for my bread machine. I added the top 7 ingredients (even the oil) into the bread maker in the order that is suggested (this may be different depending on the bread maker) and just put it on dough setting and let it do it's thing. After 45 minutes, I was ready to start rolling out pretzels.
Now I just couldn't make myself leave these little guys plain. I melted some butter and mixed cinnamon and sugar together. The minute I removed the pretzels from the oven, I dipped them in butter and then in the cinnamon/sugar mixture. I did leave some without the mixture and simply dipped the tops of those in the melted butter.
These melt in your mouth and are absolutely fantastic! I am sure I will be making these again. Everyone in the family loved them and they were so easy to make!