There is nothing like authentic German Pretzel Rolls hot from the oven. I made these to bring to a friend's house for Christmas Eve and everyone was raving about them all night.
The key to making these is that you must use Food Grade Lye better known as Sodium Hydroxide. Don't let anyone tell you that you can skip this step by using baking soda. If you want the real deal you must use Sodium Hydroxide or the crust will not be dark brown like it is supposed to. You must be careful of course when using this product and where protective gloves and long sleeves and goggles. Do not ever add the crystals to hot water or you will cause the water mixture to over flow and probably burn yourself in the process.
You can order Sodiuym Hydroxide on-line through Amazon and it will take about 4-5 days to ship since it is considered dangerous cargo.
I followed this recipe from German Foodie as posted on the The Fresh Loaf and it worked out great.
Another note, don't do what I did the first time and use parchment paper to line your cookie sheets. I did this foolish thing and had to cut the paper off the bottom of most of the pretzel rolls. Instead, use metal baking sheets and spray them heavily with cooking spray. If they still stick you can simply use your dough scraper to loosen them from the baking sheet.
Make sure you have real pretzel salt as this will make a huge difference if you don't.
They came out just as good the second time around as the first. Next time I will start experimenting a little and try some with cheese stuffed inside and I may try adding some rye flour into a batch to make Pumpernickel pretzels.
I made double the recipe which makes around 20 pretzel rolls.
Make sure after you mix the dough you use a big enough container to let the dough double in size while in the refrigerator.