For Italian-inspired pretzels, add 1 to 2 cups of minced pepperoni with the flour and sprinkle pretzels with parmesan cheese prior to baking.
1. In stand mixer bowl, combine water, honey and yeast. Let stand for about 5 minutes or until mixture begins to foam.
2. Add salt, flour and melted butter. Using dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. On medium speed, knead dough until it's smooth and pulls away from the dough hook, about 5 minutes. Remove dough from mixer bowl. Wipe out bowl and rub interior with a little vegetable oil. Place dough back in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
4. Bring the water and baking soda to a rolling boil in a soup pot or stockpot.
5. Divide the dough into about 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope. Then, holding the 2 ends of the rope, cross them over each other twice and press them into the center of the bottom of the U to form the shape of a pretzel.
6. Carefully place pretzels one at a time in the boiling water. Boil each pretzel for 30 to 40 seconds. Remove with a wide faced flat spatula or skimmer. Drain well and place on the parchment-lined baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.
7. Make egg wash by beating egg yolk with 1-tablespoon water. Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt.
8. Bake until pretzels turn a deep golden brown, about 13 to 15 minutes.
9. Transfer hot pretzels to wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Inspired by Pepperoni Pizza Pretzel recipe by Mary Ann Esposito