Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment & set aside.
Combine the yeast, sugar & 1 cup warm water in a mixer bowl & let it sit until it becomes frothy.
Once proofed, add in the melted butter & salt.
Turn on the mixer, using the dough hook attachment, add in flour, one cup at a time & allow the hook to combine the ingredients until the dough comes together & is pulling all pieces away from the sides.
You can continue to let the mixer knead the dough for an additional 5 minutes but I like to do this part by hand. Knead 5 minutes or until smooth stretchy.
Place the dough back into the bowl to rest for 15 minutes.
Prepare the water bath by combining the 2½ cups of water & baking soda in a medium saucepan & bringing to a boil over med/high heat.
Once the baking soda is almost completely dissolved, remove & let cool.
Take the dough out of the bowl & flatten slightly.
Cut into 8 even pieces & roll each to 15-19 inch long rope - then form the pretzel shape.
Place each in the water bath one by one making sure they are fully covered - allow each to soak about 2 minutes.
Transfer the wet pretzel dough to the prepared baking sheet & immediately sprinkle them with salt.
Continue with all pretzels & then bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden.
*Note- you can brush with additional melted butter when you remove them from the oven, however I found this unnecessary for our taste.
*Store in a paper sack- not an airtight container to keep them from getting moist before enjoying.