Dissolve yeast into 1 cup of warm water and sugar. Let stand for 10 minutes until it gets bubbly.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture add the yeast mixture.
Combine all the dough ingredients to form dough. You can use a mixer or mix by hand.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes and place it in a bowl, cover and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Now it's time to get started on the topping. Boil 1 cup of water and remove from heat. Mix in the baking soda, stirring until it is dissolved. Pour into a baking pan until the water is lukewarm. Set aside until the pretzels are assembled.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, each weighing about 2.5 oz. We used our kitchen scale for this step. Let the 8 pieces rest for 5 minutes.
Then start rolling each of those pieces out to make a rope (the recipe calls for it to be between 28-30 inches long, but ours were closer to 20-24 inches)
Make each rope into a pretzel shape and place in the pan with the baking soda and water.
Scoop the baking soda and water mixture over the pretzel.
Spray another pan with cooking spray and transfer the pretzels. Sprinkle some sea salt on top of the pretzels before placing them in the oven.
Bake the pretzels for 8 minutes at 475 degrees.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter and brush on top of the pretzels.