The only thing better than sliced bread, is sliced PRETZEL bread!
2teaspoonskosher salt, plus more for topping
1 1/2cupswarm water(110 to 115 degrees F)
1package(2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
22ounces(about 4 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil(nonstick) spray, for pan and bowl
1large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tablespoon water (for egg wash)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter, sugar, salt and 1 1/2 cups warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Add the flour and mix with the dough hook attachment on low speed. Once the dough comes together, increase the speed to medium and mix for another 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Remove the dough from the bowl, wipe the bowl and then spray with the vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, turning once to cover both sides with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and adjust the oven rack to the lower third of the oven. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly spray with vegetable oil; set aside. (Alternatively, you can use a silicone liner with no spray.)
Turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface or pastry mat. Divide into two equal halves. Shape into loaves and place side by side onto the lined baking sheet. Cover lightly with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 10 minutes.
Bring the 10 cups of water to a boil in a large sauce pan or stock pot, then add the baking soda.
Carefully place one loaf in the boiling water for 30 to 40 seconds, turning once. Use a large slotted spoon or spatula to remove from the water and return to the pan. Repeat with second loaf. Brush the top of each loaf with the egg wash then sprinkle with kosher salt. Use a sharp knife to score a shallow "X" on the top of each loaf.
Bake in the preheated oven until dark golden brown and the sound of tapping the loaf is hollow (approximately 20 to 25 minutes.) Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
If you do not plan to consume the bread the same day, then I would suggest freezing immediately after they hit room temperature. The more fresh they are when you freeze them, the better. Throw them in a freezer bag and freeze up to 1 month. Reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 5 to 10 minutes (until heated through). This is what I do, and they taste just as fresh!