Really, go make these.  I regret having waited so long.  And, I'm sorry Alton, sodium bicarb isn't good enough.  Get the lye and do it right.  Use gloves (latex gloves are at Lowe's and cheap) to handle, it's not that bad.
Mix 40 g sodium hydroxide in 1 L water.

Cover baking sheet with parchment, this is what I'll bake the pretzels on.
A simple dough of water (200 g), veg oil (20 g), sugar (10 g), salt (5 g), yeast (rapid rise, 1 packet), unbleached white flour (300 g), let rise in fridge overnight (barely kneaded, I kneaded prior to 2nd rise).
Next morning, kneed dough ball a bit, scale dough into 6 pieces about 90 g each.  Roll each into little log and let rest.
Roll each lump into ca. 18" rope.
Twist the rope into one of these.  Find some kind of diagram on the net to teach you how.  Sprinkle with flour and let rest on the counter for about 10-15 minutes.
Darn, didn't get a shot of the last step.  Pour lye solution into a plastic bin [CAUTION: do this in sink, it will STAIN formica counters].  Dip the rested pretzels, couple at a time in the lye and let sit in lye about 15 seconds.  Remove from lye and set on parchment.  Sprinkle toppings onto wet pretzels.  Here is salt and cinnamon / sugar.
Place sheet in preheated 450F oven.
Remove when they look tasty (about 15-20 min).
I hung them on a chopstick to cool.  
The cinnamon sugar were weird, the salt were sublime (this is Baleine coarse sea salt).
These are a new staple in our home.  Get the lye on Ebay and make 'em.  Lye's not bad to handle.


Mike said...

Very nice - we definitely need to make some of these!

Dave said...

Hey Mike, give 'em a shot, pretty reliable. It's the first thing I remake once off the road - many travels these days.

amandyanderson said...

But...I'm still scared of Lye...But they look so delicious...torn.

Dave said...

OK, the easiest way to do the lye thing is mix it in a plastic bucket placed inside the sink. NaOH into water, swirl gently to mix, glove up and dip pretzels. The risen pretzels are easier to handle after the lye than before.

Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Dave, where did you get your lye?

Dave said...

Anon - Ebay, search for "sodium hydroxide food grade". A few bucks a pound (delivered).