1. Combine 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.
2. Add 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. Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a flat surface and knead into a ball with your hands.
3. Oil a large bowl with canola 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.
4. While the dough is rising, line a baking sheet or plate with wax paper. Using an 1/8 of a teaspoon, scoop out little dots of peanut butter and place them on the wax paper. Freeze until hardened, about 30 minutes. Keep in the freezer until ready to make the pretzel bites.
5. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.Remove 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. Roll each piece into a long rope measuring 22 inches and shape. Cut the dough into one inch pieces to make the pretzel bites.
6. Working with 10 bites at a time (keep the rest of the bites covered with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out while you make the pretzel bites), press an indentation into each dough bite with your finger. Place a dot of frozen peanut butter on each bite. Wrap the pretzel dough around the peanut butter and pinch the ends until the bite is closed completely. Make sure you watch the peanut butter, if it starts to thaw out while you are working, put it back in the freezer for a bit. When all of the pretzel bites are made, place them on a baking sheet or plate and put them in the freezer for 5 minutes.
7. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot over high heat and carefully add the baking soda. It will bubble up, so add it slowly. Boil the pretzel bites in the water solution in batches. We did about 15 bites at a time. Boil for about 30 seconds. Remove with a large slotted spoon. Place pretzel bites on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray or that is lined with a Silpat baking mat. Make sure they are not touching. Brush the tops lightly with the egg wash and season liberally with the salt. Place into the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature before serving. Serve with melted chocolate, if desired.
Note-the pretzel bites are best eaten the day they are made. You can store them in an air-tight container on the counter if necessary.