2 packets (2 TBS) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 3/4 cups very warm water
5 cups bread flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil


1/2 cup baking soda
4 cups water


About 1/4 cup kosher salt or coarse salt (I use coarse sea salt)

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water.
Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes. Add oil: stir well.

2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and salt.
Make a well in the center; add the oil and yeast mixture.
Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water.
If too wet, add more flour. Knead the dough until smooth, about 7 to 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil.
Cover with plastic wrap or a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, >br>about 1 hour.

3. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). In a bowl,
dissolve baking soda in hot water.

4. When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide
into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape.
Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution
and place on a greased baking sheet or pan. I find that PAM works better than other
grease and that a baking sheet works best NOT covered with aluminum foil.
Sprinkle with topping salt salt.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes, until browned. Remove from the pan
and cool on a rack.

6. For very indulgent addition, brush with melted butter. For "Auntie style",
hell-in-handbasket: DIP them in melted butter. I think this step is really not necessary.