Here is a great recipe that I have tried before. It is from "The Professional Pastry Chef" by Bo Friburg. He is a Certified Master Baker. The only down side to this recipe, after the first day, the pretzels are so-so. I tried reheating them in a toaster oven, but it still wasn't the same. Instead of lye, I used a Baking Soda solution. And I made half this recipe and yielded if I remember right, 12 NY sized pretzels. By the way, if you prefer crunchy pretzels, don't float them in the solution, just pop them in the oven, and make them slightly smaller.
Makes 30 3 oz traditional pretzels
1 oz (30g) fresh compressed yeast
1 qt (960ml) warm water (105-115 deg)
4 tsp (20g) salt
2 Tbs (30g) granulated sugar
1 oz (30g) caraway seeds (optional)
3# 12 oz (1kg, 705g) bread flour
Baking Soda Solution
1. Dissolve yeast in the warm water. Add the salt, sugar and caraway seeds if desired. Gradually mix in enough of the flour to make a stiff dough. Knead at medium speed with the dough hook, adding the remaining flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
2. Place the dough in a well buttered bowl. Turn the dough to butter all sides. Cover and set aside in a warm place until doubled in volume, approx 45 minutes.
3. Brush melted butter over 3 half sheet pans lined with foil. Reserve.
4. Punch down the dough and divide it into 3 equal pieces approx 1# 12oz (795g) each. Roll each piece into a rope 20 inches (50cm) long. Cut each rope into 10 equal pieces.
5. Pound and roll each of the smaller pieces into a 20 inch (50cm) tapered string. Form the strings into the pretzel shape, and place them onto a lightly floured board. Let the gluten in the pretzel relax for 2-4 minutes. Then stretch each one to make it approx 7X4 inches (17.5X10cm).
6. Bring the baking soda solution to a boil. Drop 2 or 3 pretzels into the solution and boil for 1 minute AFTER they float to the surface. Remove them carefully with a slotted spoon and transfer to the buttered sheet pan.
7. As each sheet pan is filled, sprinkle coarse salt over the pretzels.
8. Bake at 475 deg (246C) until dark brown, approx 20 minutes. Remove and cool on a baking rack.
Baking Soda Solution
2qts (1L, 920ml) water
3 Tbs (36g) baking soda
1 Tbs (15g) salt
1. Combine all ingredients in a large saute pan or rondeau, boil and follow recipe direction.
Also, it says that pretzels are traditionally dipped in a 5% solution of sodium hydroxide (1qt water with 1.5 oz sodium hydroxide). Pretzels are not boiled with this solution, but rather dipped into a warm solution using gloves.