Soft Rye Pretzels

I think working with sweets all day has finally caught up with me because all I want to eat these days are salty, vinegary, spicy foods. When I flipped through my new favorite, Good to the Grain, these rye pretzels sprinkled with coarse salt immediately caught my eye. I used my favorite Maldon sea salt to finish off these burnished, dark golden beauties and I highly suggest you do the same. The combination of crunchy salt, crisp-chewy pretzel, and spicy mustard just can't be beat. 

For the Dough 

1 package (2 1/4t) active dry yeast
1T honey
1 c rye flour
2 1/2 c all purpose flour
1T kosher salt

1/2 c baking soda

To Finish
Maldon, or other coarse salt for sprinkling

1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water, add honey, then stir in the flours and salt.
2. Dump the dough onto a floured surface and knead in up to 1/2c of all purpose flour until the dough is tacky, soft, and supple or about 10 min.
3. Brush a clean bowl with melted butter (I used oil so these pretzels would be vegan), place the dough in the bowl and cover with a towel until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
4. While the dough is rising, heat your oven to 450 degrees and oil or butter 2 baking sheets.
5. Once the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured board and divide it into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a thin log with tapered edges about 17 inches long. You can find a great diagram to help you form the pretzels here. 
6. Place the shaped pretzels on the oiled baking sheets and let them rise for 15-20 min.
7. Meanwhile, fill your biggest, widest pot with water. Once the pretzels are proofed and the water is boiling, add the baking soda. Be careful, the water will bubble rapidly when you add the soda.
8. To poach the pretzels, gently place them in the boiling water and cook for 30 seconds on each side. Pat off any excess water and transfer back to the baking sheets. Sprinkle liberally with sea salt.
9. Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. The pretzels should be very dark in color. 
10. Transfer to a rack to cool and eat warm, with mustard. Then try not to have another, I dare you.