El Jefe Soft Pretzels
1 cup milk
5 tbl unsalted butter, divided (2 tbl for the dough; 3 tbl for brushing on the finished pretzels)
3 tbl light brown sugar, packed
1 package (2 1/4 tsp) instant yeast
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp El Jefe Garlic Habanero craft salt
1/4 cup baking soda
Warm the milk and butter in the microwave until the butter is just melted, about 90 seconds.
Add the brown sugar and stir until dissolved.
In a mixer bowl, combine 2 1/2 cups of flour, yeast, and salt.
Mix on low speed until, about 1 minute.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the warm milk mixture to the bowl. When the dough forms a cohesive mass, remove and knead, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky.
Shape the dough into a ball, place in a clean, lightly greased bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, silicon baking mat, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a shallow baking dish, combine the baking soda with 2 1/4 cups warm water. Stir until the baking soda is dissolved and set aside.
Poke the dough to deflate it, then turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface.
Shape the dough into a log, then cut into 6 equal pieces
Cover with a damp dishtowel so the dough doesn't dry out. Roll and stretch each piece with the palms of your hands into a roughly 24-inch "rope".
Using two hands, gently dip each "rope" into the soda solution. Let any excess liquid drip off, then form the dough into a pretzel shape directly on the prepared baking sheet form a U-shape, then holding the ends of the rope, cross them over and under each other, making a twist in the center, and press the ends onto the bottom of the pretzel.
Sprinkle evenly with El Jefe Garlic Habanero craft salt.
Bake until golden, 8 to 12 minutes.
Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and brush on the baked pretzels.
Serve them up and enjoy!