Deepwide cooking pan filled with water 2/3 or the way
Mix yeast and sugar in a bowl. Add warm water and whisk until sugar dissolves. Let yeast bloom for about 10 minutes.
Mix flour and salt in a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix chopped, cold butter into flour on low speed until mixture starts to resemble coarse crumbs.
Slowly pour yeast mixture into flour mixture, while still mixing on low, until just combined. Using your hands, gather dough together. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until no longer sticky, for a couple of minutes. Place in a medium bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise for 30-45 minutes.
Divide dough in smaller, manageable pieces. Roll each piece into about 1/4 inch thick rope. Cut the rope into about 5-inch long pieces. Flatten each piece and twist.
Place twists to a lightly greased baking sheet and let rest for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Bring a large, deep cooking pan of water to a boil and add baking soda, stir well. Boil pretzel twists in batches until puffed, about 30-45 seconds.
Take out onto a paper towel and return to baking sheet.