In a small bowl, add warm water, yeast and sugar. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes. Add salt and stir.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, add flour and then pour yeast mixture over top. Knead with bread hook in your mixer, with a dough whisk or by hand for about 5 minutes.
Separate dough into 6 sections. Roll dough into ropes about 15 inches long and 1 inch thick. Cut with scissors into 1 1/2 – 2 inch pieces. This should make about 60 to 75 pretzel pieces. Optional: cut a “t” or “x” on the top of the pretzel with scissors.
In a small pan, bring about 8 cups water + 1/3 cup baking soda to a boil. Once water is boiling, place about 8 pieces of dough into the water for about 30 seconds. Remove with slotted spoon and place pretzel bites onto baking sheet. Brush dough lightly with egg and sprinkle salt on top.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. You can turn the oven to broil for the last minute to brown the tops. Remove pretzel bites to a cooling rack and brush tops with melted butter if desired.
Enjoy homemade pretzels warm with your favorite dipping sauce.
Cheese sauce: Here is my favorite pretzel cheese dip. Variation: For a sweeter version, bake the homemade pretzels without salt. When they come out of the oven, roll them in melted butter and then roll the tops and sides in cinnamon sugar (1/2 cup granulated sugar combined with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon). Storage: Best served the first day fresh out of the oven. Store leftovers in a brown bag or covered container for up to 2 days.