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Put the flour, yeast, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl and mix together to combine. In a large jug, mix together 300ml lukewarm water and the butter. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the water, mixing together to form a rough dough.
Tip out onto a floured work surface and knead for 10-15 mins or until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and set aside until doubled in size, about 1hr.
Once risen, knock out the air bubbles in the dough and divide into 8 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a long rope about 60cm long.
To form into pretzels, lay the rope in a U-shape with the curve pointing towards you. Take the two ends and cross them over.
Take the ends, lift them backwards and press them into the curve of the U-shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
Carefully place the pretzels on a baking tray lined with parchment and lightly greased with oil. Cover lightly with oiled cling film. Set aside for about 20 mins until puffy (not fully risen like bread dough).
Fill a medium-sized saucepan with water, bring to the boil, add the baked bicarbonate of soda, then reduce the heat to a low simmer. One at a time, carefully lift the pretzels into the pan and cook for 20 secs per side. The pretzels will rise to the surface; flip with a slotted spoon.
Use the spoon to gently lift the pretzels from the pan and return them to the baking tray. Once they have all been cooked in the water, lightly brush with the egg and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 mins or until a rich, dark brown. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Best served on the day made but can be frozen for up to 1 month.