In a pot on the stove, add milk and butter. Heat until butter is melted.
Add warm milk mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add in yeast, salt and flour. Turn mixer on low speed for five minutes, slowly pouring 1/2 cup water as it mixes.
Cover and allow to rise for 1 hour.
Cut the dough into 2 equal-sized pieces. Starting with one, begin to
Roll it into a long (2 foot) snake shape. Make it into the pretzel shape
And do the same for the other. *Note*: A little bit of water where the hands meet the arms helps it stick better.
Preheat the oven to 440°F.
Heat a skillet over high heat with 8 1/2 cups of water. Just before the
Water begins to boil, add the baking soda. Using a spatula and a bench
Scraper, quickly place the pretzel upside down into baking soda bath for five seconds. It will soften, so use both the bench scraper and a spatula to retrieve it from the water, placing it right side up on a silicone mat. Repeat for second pretzel.
While they're wet, sprinkle pretzels with coarse sea salt. Use a knife
To cut a small slit along the bottom of the pretzels to allow them to puff
Up while baking.
Bake pretzels for 12-16 minutes, or until deep brown in color. Remove,