Whisk the yeast into the lukewarm water and leave for a minute. Whisk in the sugar, salt and butter. Slowly add the flour, about one third at a time. Mix until you form a thick dough, and stop then, even if you have some flour left over. You can use a dough hook but we did it by hand and it was fine.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for three to five minutes, until elastic. Roll into a ball and rest for ten minutes. Preheat the oven to 200ºC, and line two baking tins with parchment, lightly buttered. You are aiming for six pretzels on each tin.
Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 12 sections. Using your hands, on a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 20-inch rope. Meet the ends together to form a circle. Twist the ends so you have two lengths overlapping the circle – like one-and-a-half-inch butterfly antennae sticking out at the top of the circle. Flip it over and double the circle towards you, pressing each antenna to form a triangle in the dough towards yourself.
In a roomy saucepan, bring the bicarbonate of soda and water to the boil. Drop each shaped pretzel into the bath and scoop out with a fish slice/slatted spoon when it rises to the surface after 17-30 seconds.According to Sally, leave it too long and it will taste metallic. Give each pretzel a shake to remove excess water then place on the baking tray. Apply the coarse sea salt atop each pretzel, remembering that less is more.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown – you will smell and see when they are ready. Enjoy!