For the pretzels:
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (355 grams) warm water (about 110°F), divided
- 5 cups (635 grams) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
For baking soda bath:
- 2/3 cup of baking soda
- 10 cups of water
For the garlic Parmesan:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (add more or less to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Make the dough:
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the water. Whisk to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups water, flour, and salt and stir to combine. On low speed, gradually pour in the melted butter.
Increase speed to medium and knead for about seven minutes until the dough is elastic and completely smooth and doesn’t stick to the sides of the bowl or your hands. This will be a dense dough, so be careful not to step away from your mixer in case it decides to jump on the counter.
Shape the pretzels:
There is no need to allow this dough to rise prior to shaping. Remove the dough to a clean work surface (do not flour). Divide into 10 equal pieces (each should be about 100 grams). Roll each piece against the counter or between your palms into about a 20-inch long log.
Shape the log into a letter U. Cross the arms placing one over the other then twist them around each other once. Bring the ends down to the bottom of the U and gently press to stick. Place on two greased parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat with all the dough portions.
Cover and allow the shaped pretzels to rise for 30 minutes while you prepare the bath. The shaped pretzels should be slightly puffed before 'bathing.'
Prepare the baking soda bath:
In a large pot, bring the baking soda and water to a soft boil. Once risen, boil the pretzels in small batches in the soda solution for 30 seconds, then flip and boil for an additional 30 seconds.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the pretzels back to the prepared baking sheets. Using a paring knife, score two slices into the thickest part of each pretzel. Repeat until all pretzels have been bathed and scored.
Bake the pretzels:
Bake both trays at 400°F for about 16 minutes, alternating the trays half through the baking time for even baking, until deeply golden brown. Bake for less time for softer pretzels and more time for crispier pretzels.
Prepare the topping:
While the pretzels bake, melt the butter in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the salt, garlic powder, and parsley and stir to combine.
Brush hot pretzels all over with the garlic butter mixture. Sprinkle generously with the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.