In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix warm water and 1 tbsp sugar. Remember, water should be 110F° roughly. If it's too hot to touch then it's too warm. Water should be warmer than room temperature but not too uncomfortable to handle or touch. Top off with yeast. Let this sit for about 10 minutes or until it is nice and puffy or foamy looking.
Add 1 cup flour to bowl and mix on low. Toss in salt and 4 more cups of flour. Mix on med/low until combined well and pulling away from the sides of your bowl. Add your last cup of flour, mix well. If your machine is having trouble keeping up, mix by hand. Better safe than sorry. It'd be a shame to kill your motor over pretzels! Transfer to a lightly floured workspace and knead by hand until totally smooth.
Grease a large bowl with oil. I prefer the spray method but you can also drizzle and swirl it around until the bowl is coated. Plop dough into your greased bowl, then flip your dough so it is now coated with oil on all sides. Cover with a kitchen towel or any towel large enough to cover your bowl. Let sit for an hour or until at least doubled in size.
A little prepwork before you get to handling your pretzel dough. Preheat oven to 450F°. Prepare cookie sheets by spraying or drizzling with a light coating of oil or cover with parchment paper. Grab a large pot and fill with a few inches of water, set aside on your stovetop.
Punch down your dough to release any air pockets. Divide dough evenly into as many pieces as you want pretzels. You decide how many you want. With my half batch, I made four pretzels. So you can either do mini pretzels, large, etc.
Taking one piece at a time, roll into a long snake. The desired size of your pretzel will determine how long your snake or rope of dough should be. The larger the pretzel, the longer you should roll out. I recommend at least rolling out the dough to the width of your hands or longer. Shape into a pretzel, transfer to your baking sheet and continue process with the remaining dough.
Bring your water to a boil. To prevent boiling water from splashing up on your hand or arm, measure out your baking soda and transfer to a long handled spoon. Not just a regular short handled serving spoon. I mean as long handled as you can find. Trust me, I wish I had done this the first time and now I know better. Add baking soda to water, stand back. Seriously. Ouch. Now toss in remaining 2 tbsp sugar. Reduce to a simmer. Add in as many pretzels as you can without crowding them. Cook for 1 minute on each side, then transfer back to your prepared baking sheets. Continue process with remaining pretzels.
Beat together 1 tbsp water and egg. Brush egg mixture over pretzels and sprinkle with pretzel salt. Next time I will absolutely go on a hunt for pretzel salt. Table salt doesn't cut it, the egg mixture basically absorbs it. I checked my local grocery stores but didn't find any so I'll need to do some hunting. If you don't mind unsalted pretzels, then go without. Otherwise, do find yourself some pretzel salt.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a nice shiny golden color. Cool on a wire rack, at least slightly. Eat warm, please. So so good warm. Drizzle with spicy mustard or make a little dollop of mustard on the side to dip in. Yes, that is the best topping for pretzels if you ask me. There is no better option.
As weird as this may sound, leave your pretzels uncovered overnight if any remain. The following day you may toss in a container or bag to store for a day or two. To reheat, pop in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. You can also freeze these and thaw out when you'd like a nice homemade treat.