1Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook until combined. Let sit for 5 minutes.
2Add the salt and flour and mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl, about 3 to 4 minutes. If the dough appears too wet, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.
3Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
4Oil a bowl with vegetable oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil.
Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
5Bring the water to a boil in a small roasting pan over high heat and add the baking soda.
6Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat surface.
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, about 4 1/4 to 4 1/2 ounces each.
7Roll each piece into a long rope and shape into the lengths or shapes that you want (sticks are easy and tasty).
Boil the pretzels in the water solution in batches. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon.
Place pretzels on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure they are not touching.
Brush the tops with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt.
8Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
Add additional toppings immediately after they come out of the oven.