In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and yeast. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to foam. Add flour and melted butter, mix on low speed until well combined. Turn speed up to medium and knead until dough is smooth.
Place the dough into a large bowl that has been brushed with vegetable oil. Cover with plastic wrap or dish towel. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees . Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly brush with vegetable oil.
In a large pot, bring 10 cups of water and baking soda to a boil.
Meanwhile, turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel.
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula onto prepared baking sheets. Brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving.