For the dough:
1 cup warm water (45° C)
2 teaspoons light brown sugar, divided
1¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ cups bread flour
½ teaspoon salt
For the baking soda bath:
8 cups water
½ cup baked soda*
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons pretzel salt or coarse sea salt
300g white or/and milk chocolate
Your choice of sugar decorations
- *NOTE: Baked soda is not another term for baking soda. It’s actually baking soda that has been baked. To make baked soda, spread baking soda on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 120° C for 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup warm water and ½ teaspoon brown sugar. Add yeast and stir to dissolve. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes until slightly foamy.
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, stir remaining 1½ teaspoons brown sugar, flours and salt until combined. Add yeast mixture and remaining ¾ cup warm water; stir until a dough forms.
- Knead dough by hand on a lightly floured surface 5 to 10 minutes until smooth, satiny and elastic; OR, knead dough with dough hook attachment in stand mixer on medium speed 5 minutes until smooth, satiny and elastic. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil or cooking spray. Cover bowl with lightly greased plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place 1 hour until doubled.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch down risen dough and divide into several pieces. Roll each piece into a roughly 17-cm-long rod and place 2 cm apart on prepared baking sheets. Cover loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oven to 175° C. Prepare the baking soda bath: In a large, deep and wide saucepan or Dutch oven, bring water to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add baked soda and brown sugar; stir to dissolve.
- Carefully drop a few dough rods into simmering bath. Poach 15 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and return to lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough rods.
- Brush tops of rods with egg wash, then sprinkle with salt. Bake 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking, until rods are a deep golden brown and hardened. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Dip your pretzel rods in the chocolate and cover with your choice of sugar decorations.
- Fully cooled pretzel rods can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.