I have grown up on these dense hard Italian pretzel/cracker rings. I am surprised I haven't turned into one of these pretzels. This is the version that is primarily used in Southern Italy especially in the Puglia region which my city Bari, is in. This is the Black Pepper version and some of my Aunts or even my Godmother have put fennel seeds into the dough which you can do too and provides a more fragrant pretzel. Again this is another recipe that all my Aunts have made. You partially boil these pretzels before baking them. You can't appreciate the taste by just eating one, then after you haven't realized you've eaten about 15. These are made for special gatherings or just for snacking. When storing, make sure you put them in an air tight container because they can get stale really easily.