A friend of mine who is a trained chef talked to me about how to do pretzels. He was the one who introduced me to food-grade lye and explained how it interacts with the dough. I know there are other ways to make pretzels, but there is nothing like using lye which is the traditional way of making pretzels. You have to be careful and wear gloves and eye protection is not a bad idea either. But the main thing is to remember to add lye to the water - NOT water to the lye. It will generate significant heat, but a plastic container is fine. It did not harm my container, but oddly enough it did discolor my baking sheets. Nothing damaging, but certainly visible.