In the bowl of your mixer (fitted with dough hook) dissolve yeast, brown sugar and salt in 1 1/2 cups warm water. Mix in flour until you can turn your dough on a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl. Cover, and let rise for one hour. ** This step can be done with a wooden spoon instead of a mixer. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead – 8-10 minutes.**
After dough has risen, cut into 12 pieces. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes. Roll each piece into a 2-3 foot rope.
In a large saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a simmer over medium heat.
Roll your dough around the hot dogs and dip into the baking soda solution for about 20-30 seconds. Place on parchment covered (or greased) baking sheets, and let rise 15-20 minutes.
You could certainly roll your pretzel dough into any shape at this point.
Brush with melted butter and salt. Bake at 450 degrees F (230 degrees C) for 8 -10 minutes, or until golden brown.