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Sourdough Pretzels

1.5 Tablespoon Liquid Malt Extract (or honey)
2 Tablespoons Softenend Butter
1/4 Tbsp Instant Yeast
4 cups bread flour
1/2 cup Rye flour
1.5 cups bread starter (levain)
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup food grade Lye (NaOH) **
2 Tbsp salt
Coarse Sea Salt

In a large bowl, combine instant yeast with starter, softenend butter, salt and malt extract (or honey) and stir.
After that you add in your flour and stir it until it becomes a cohesive mass. At this point you can either begin kneading the dough or take a 30 min break and allow the dough to rest. Letting it rest can reduce the amount of time you have to knead it.
Knead dough for at least 5 mins until it becomes uniform.
Clean out your bowl with water (no soap!), drain it and spray with a bit of olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking too badly.

Place somewhere warm if you can and let proof for 4 hours or so. The longer it proofs the more pronounced the sourdough taste will be. You can also do 2-3 hours, then place in the fridge overnight. Remember to let it get back to room temp for an hour or so if you put it in the fridge.

Prepare your oven by preheating it for at least 25 mins to 475F
Using a baking stone can vastly improve your results

Mix the 1/4 cup lye** (NaOH) into about 5 cups water. Be careful! Lye is caustic.
As you shape your pretzels (or just lazily make small balls), you will need to dip them for 10-15 seconds in the lye solution with a pair of tongs. After that you remove them and put on a plate allowing the excess lye solution to drain off. Shake the coarse sea salt onto them as desired and bake for about 12-15 mins at 450-475F or until dark brown.

Make sure you have a selection of mustards ( as well as some honey to mix in ) in order to fully appreciate the pretzels.
** you can get food grade lye from amazon
    but be careful with the undiluted NaOH, you can get burned.
    See Fight Club