In a measuring cup, measure one cup of water and warm in the microwave for 30 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir. Check temperature to makes sure it does not exceed 80 degrees. If it’s too warm it’ll kill the yeast.
Stir in 1 tablespoon of sugar and sprinkle the yeast on top. Give it a gentle stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
Once the yeast is nice and frothy, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 2 cups of flour, butter and sea salt.
Using your dough hook turn on low and mix until the dough comes together. Then slowly add the remaining half cup of flour. Turn on medium speed and mix until the flour is incorporated to the dough. If the dough is still sticking to the bottom of the bowl as it mixes, slowly add more flour, but not too much. You don’t want it to be too dry.
Once your dough comes together, turn the mixer on high and knead the dough for 1 minute.
Cover the bowl and let sit for 30-45 minutes.
Remove dough from bowl and turn out onto a floured surface. For 5-inch pretzels, as you see in the photos, divide the dough into 8 pieces. For larger pretzels, divide the dough into 6ths or even 4ths. (You can even make pretzels balls, just divide each 8th in half and roll into balls).
Roll each section into a 20-inch long rope. Bring the two ends together and cross, then bring them down to the bottom to form the pretzel shape.
Once all the pretzels are formed, gently place them one at a time into a pot of boiling water. Allow to boil for 30-60 seconds.
Remove from the water and place back on the baking sheet. Repeat until all the pretzels have been boiled.
Lay them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Make an egg wash by gently beating one egg in a small bowl.
Once you’re rolled and formed all of the pretzels, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for 15-17 minutes.
While the pretzels are baking, make the cheese sauce. Pour milk into a measuring cup and microwave for 45-60 seconds (warm milk incorporates better than cold milk). In a medium pan over medium-high heat, melt butter and whisk in flour. slowly pour milk, whisking as you add. Once the milk has all been added, whisk until the mixture starts to thicken. (If you can’t get rid of the lumps, throw it in the blender real quick, blend and return to pan). Reduce the heat to low and add the shredded cheese and seasonings. Stir until cheese has completely melted.