- Warm water
- 2 (1/4-ounce) packages rapid-rise yeast
- 3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
- 6 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour
- 4 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces, plus more for serving
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 1/2 cup pale ale-style beer
- Pretzel salt
- Mustard, for serving
- In a medium bowl, mix together 2 cups warm water, yeast, and 1/2 cup brown sugar; let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix together flour and coarse salt using your hands. Add butter and continue to mix with your hands until mixture is crumbly. Add yeast mixture and, using your hands, mix until a shaggy dough is formed and water is absorbed.
- Using the dough hook attachment, mix dough on medium speed until dough is tight, elastic, and smooth, 6 to 8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and transfer to refrigerator; let chill at least 8 hours and up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Roll dough out into a 14-by-12-inch rectangle. Cut dough into one dozen 12-inch-long strips, each about 1-inch wide. Transfer to a large baking sheet and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Transfer to refrigerator and let chill for 15 minutes.
- Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out each piece into a 30- to 33-inch-long rope (about 3/4-inch thick), starting from the center and working toward the ends. Make a "U" shape with the rope and cross the ends over, pinching at the bottom of the "U" to form a pretzel. Return to baking sheet and repeat process with remaining dough.
- Spray a large baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan, combine 8 cups water, baking soda, beer, and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer pretzels, one at a time, until pretzel floats, about 30 seconds; transfer to prepared baking sheet using a perforated spatula. Repeat process with remaining pretzels.
- Sprinkle pretzels with pretzel salt; transfer to oven and bake for 5 minutes. Rotate baking sheet and continue baking until pretzels turn a chestnut brown color, 4 to 6 minutes more. Remove from baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Serve warm with butter or mustard.