A simple dough of warm milk, yeast, brown sugar, butter, salt and flour. What makes this pretzel bread, is that before baking, each little loaf is placed into a solution of boiling water and baking soda. This creates an alkaline environment which allows the bread to darken with out burning and is what gives pretzel bread that signature taste.
In the bowl of your mixing bowl add 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar.
Meanwhile heat the milk in a saucepan until it's 110°. Pour the warm milk into the mixing bowl with the sugar and whisk to dissolve.
Next add in the yeast, melted butter and gradually add in the flour and salt, mixing until just combined.
Switch over to your dough hook and mix on low speed for 8 to 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and place into a large, well oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen or tea towel and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and on a lightly floured surface, cut the dough into 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a tight ball.
Meanwhile in a large soup/stock pot, bring 12 cups of water to a boil. Gradually add in 3/4 cup of baking soda, be super careful as the water will foam and could bubble up. Stir to combine.
Place each ball of dough -bottom facing up- into the boiling water solution. Cook for 1 minute before turning the dough and boiling on the bottom side for an additional minute. Remove each mini loaf to a parchment lined platter to dry.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and water together with a fork.
Once dry, transfer each loaf to a parchment lined, rimmed metal baking sheet. Brush the tops and sides of each loaf with the egg wash and cut an X about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch deep into the top of each loaf.
Bake in your preheated 400° oven for 15 minutes, rotating the pan halfway during baking.
Then reduce your oven temperature to 350° and continue to bake for 8 to 10 more minutes or until each loaf is deeply golden and hollow sounding when tapped on.