Measure 1/2 cup warm water into a bowl. Sprinkle 1 package of yeast on the water and stir until it dissolves. Separate 1 egg. Set the egg white aside. Mix the yolk, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 cup milk into the yeast mixture. Add 1 teaspoon salt and enough flour to make a stiff, easy to handle dough (maximum of 5 cups).
Knead dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes, let rise about 1 hour, then cut into strips about 1 inch wide (about 24 strips). Shape into pretzels and place on a greased cookie sheet.
Beat 1 tablespoon of water into the egg white and brush over the pretzels. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 425 degrees about 15-20 minutes. Yields 24 pretzels.