Dissolve yeast thoroughly in ¼ cup warm water. Stir in remaining water. Mix in 4 cups of flour with salt in large bowl. Add dissolved yeast and enough flour to make stiff dough. Knead 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Roll dough into a ball; place in a greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover with towel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Pinch off a small ball of dough and roll it between our hands to form a coil 20 inches long and ¼ to 3/8 inch in diameter. Shape coil into pretzel shape, pinching ends to shaped pretzel. Shape remaining dough into coils, then pretzels. Dissolve baking soda in 4 cups water and bring to boil. Drop pretzels, one at a time in, in boiling water and let boil 1 minutes, or until pretzel floats. Remove and drain. Place drained pretzels on buttered baking sheets, sprinkle with coarse salt.
Bake at 475-degrees for about 12 minutes or until golden brown. Place on rack to cool.
Not a NESTLÉ®-tested recipe.