3-3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tsp kosher salt
1 3/4 Tsp instant yeast
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened and cut into small chunks
5 Tbsp sugar
2/3 cup whole milk
1 egg white
All-purpose flour for dusting
5 Tbsp coarse sugar (or cinnamon sugar, if you prefer)
1) Heat milk over medium heat to 110°F. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in 1 Tbsp sugar. Add yeast to the warm milk and blend. Let sit 5 minutes. Add eggs; whisk until smooth.
2) In a separate medium-large bowl, add together the remaining 4 Tbsps sugar, flour, and salt. Then add the milk/egg mixture. Then add the softened pieces of butter, 1 piece at a time, stirring well.
3) Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead until dough is silky, about 5 minutes. You may have to add additional flour if your dough is too wet.
4) Place dough in lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm area until doubled in size, about 1.5-2 hours. Line 2 medium baking sheets with parchment paper.
5) Punch down dough; divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece dough on a lightly floured surface into rope (about 12-14" long). Form rope into a U-shape. Take the ends of the "U" and cross them over each other. Then grab the where they overlap and bring it down over what was the base of the "U"--now you have formed your basic pretzel shape! Repeat for all remaining pieces of dough.
6) On each parchment-lined baking sheet, place 6 pretzels--spacing them at least 2" apart. Loosely cover pretzels with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let dough rise in a warm, area until slightly puffy, about 30 minutes.
7) Preheat to 375°F. Add 2 Tsp of warm water to the egg white and whip together in a small bowl. Brush each pretzel all over with the egg-water wash. Then sprinkle each with 1/2 Tbsp coarse sugar (or cinnamon sugar).
8) Bake for 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets after 7 minutes. Continue baking until pretzels are golden. Transfer to rack for cooling. Serve warm or within several hours of baking.
NOTE: Due to lack of preservatives in the dough, the breads taste the best within the first few hours of baking. I would recommend freezing them if you plan to eat them more than one day after baking, as they will rapidly become stale.