For the pretzels:
- 1 and 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 and 1/2 cups bread flour*
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (or salted butter, but decrease the 2 teaspoons of salt by a bit)
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 16-18 mozzarella cheese sticks (string cheese)
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- coarse sea salt or kosher salt, for sprinkling
For the honey-mustard sauce:
- 1/3 cup yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- Combine the water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
- Add the salt, flour, and butter. Combine with a spoon or the paddle until it start to come together, then switch to the dough hook. Mix with the dough hook on low speed until well combined.
- Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, about 5 minutes. You may need to add a bit more flour, but be aware that this is a pretty soft dough. You should be able to touch it without it being impossible to get off your fingers, though.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. I like to put mine in an oven that has been turned to 170 (warm) for about a minute, then turned off.
- Preheat the oven to 450 (make sure you take out the dough first if that’s where it’s rising!)
- Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.
- In a large pot, bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a boil. Turn it down to medium or medium low, so that the water remains vey hot but isn’t bubbling a ton.
- Meanwhile, knead down the dough, turn it out onto a slightly floured work surface, and divide into 16 equal pieces.
- Use your hands to roll out each piece of dough into a rope that’s about 16-18-inches long.
- Starting at one end, wrap the dough around the string cheese, pinching each end together so that it’s sealed. Place onto the pan and repeat with the remaining dough and cheese.
- Place the pretzels into the hot water two at a time and boil for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat slotted spatula. Return the boiled pretzel dogs to the pan.
- Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes, or until the tops are very brown.
- Brush immediately with melted 2 tablespoons of butter, then sprinkle right away with salt. Eat hot with marinara, honey-mustard, or just by itself!
For the Honey-Mustard Sauce
- Whisk together the mustard, honey, and mayonnaise in a small bowl. Adjust ratios to taste.