Select your freshest yeast. I always use Fleischmann's.
Mix about 1.5 teaspoons of yeast into 1.5 cups of warm water and let it sit for a few minutes till it becomes a bit bubbly
In the meantime, place about 5 cups of flour and 1 teaspoon of salt into your mixer. Mix that together.
Now add your wet yeast mixture to you dry flour mixture
Let the mixer do the work for a few minutes. You can use your discretion but you may need to add more water or flour so that it forms properly into that nice dough ball. While thats happening, place a larger pot of water on the stove, drop about 1/2 cup of baking soda into the water and let dissolve on high heat, then turn off, set aside and let sit.
Once your dough is formed, kneed the dough for a few minutes with your own hands. What a stress reliever! No joke!
Divide your dough into sections and roll out like play dough! (Tip: lightly dust your counter top with flour before rolling your dough)
Once all your pretzels are formed, you can dunk each pretzel one by one into your baking soda mixture and then place onto a greased baking sheet. (I find having a little paper towel near by to dab your pretzels in between dunking is very handy.)
I usually dunk two pretzels one by one into the baking soda water and once they are wet, its easier for your selected toppings to stick. You can use rock salt, course salt, black salt, sesame seeds, dry onions…. or for something more on the sweet side… cinnamon & sugar!
Once you have your pretzels all placed on your baking sheet, place them in a nice hot oven at 400 for about 12-15 minutes depending on how dark you like your pretzels to look. I like mine on the doughy side, so I tend to under bake them. ;-)
Drizzle melted butter ALL over the pretzels after they have come out of the oven.