I probably should have waited and not posted the earlier update, but whatever - this news is big enough to warrant a second update in one day.
... SOFT PRETZELS.
The dough smelled legit the entire way. It's a little more fragile to work with than the real thing, but aside from that, it behaved itself. It rose beautifully, was soft, puffed up well in the water bath, and baked up perfectly!
The texture was that of REAL bread, fresh out of the oven. There was no gumminess, not crumbling, absolutely nothing that would make them obviously "gluten free". They even smelled right when baking!
Here's some video... Apologies for sounding like an idiot, I'm still in shock!
I am SO EXCITED about this. This is a huge victory, and one that required a ton of persistence and frustration to reach. It's also one that could open the doors for other breads.
The final hurdle is to see how it tastes/feels once it cools. There's always a chance that it will be awful, as many gf breads are at room temp... I have high hopes, based on how it's gone so far.
Thanks for putting up with me!