Niall thought it was so weird that I made pretzels and hot dogs. But come on! I liked the blog post from A Dash of Sass. And it's not like I can get a pretzel on every street corner around here. I've never made pretzels before, so this was kind of fun.
I love hot dogs. Maybe it's a family thing. (My dad calls hot dogs "tube steaks".) I was very reluctant to try vegetarian hot dogs. But it turns out they're pretty good. So good that it has been a few years since I've had a meat-based hot dog. I used vegetarian hot dogs for this recipe and they worked a treat. Makes 16 pretzel dogs plus leftover dough. (Probably had enough dough for 18-20 pretzel dogs.)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 Tablespoons dry active yeast (I added about a 1/2 teaspoon more)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda (yes, really that much soda!)
1 large egg yolk, beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
Sea salt for topping
8 vegetarian hot dogs, cut in half
For the pretzel dough, dissolve the sugar and salt in the warm water. (I used the bowl from the stand mixer.) Add the yeast and allow it to grow. (About five minutes.)
Add the flour and the melted butter to the yeast and use the dough hook (or stir by hand if not using a stand mixer) to mix.
Knead the dough for about five minutes. The dough will pull away from the sides and leave the bowl clean.
When the dough is kneaded, let it rise. I just left it in the stand mixer bowl, but you're probably supposed to put it in a greased bowl so it's easy to remove.
Let the dough raise until it has doubled. I followed my cousin Lessie's advice and put in oven. (Turned it on to 200 degrees, added the dough, shut the door and turned off the oven.) It took about 20 minutes for the dough to double.
Remove the dough from the bowl onto a floured surface, and divide it into 16 equal sized pieces.
In a large pot, bring the 10 cups of water to a boil. While the water is heating up, start making the pretzels. Cut the hot dogs in half.
Then take a section of the dough and roll it until it's skinny like a snake and about a foot long. Wrap it around one of the hot dog pieces, pinching it at the ends. Place it on a baking tray.
When the water starts to boil, add all that baking soda.
This was the part that was so weird to me, being that I'm a pretzel making novice. I guess this helps makes the pretzel nice? One at a time take the hot dog/dough pieces and drop them in the water for 30 seconds. Then remove with a slotted spatula.
After 30 seconds, take the hot dog out and put it on a wire rack so the excess soda water can drip off.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Now, the recipe says to place the pretzels on baking sheets lined with greased parchment. Which I did. But in the end the pretzels still stuck to the parchment. So I wonder if it would have been better just to put them on a greased baking sheet? Mix the egg yolk with the water and brush over the pretzels, then sprinkle salt.
Put in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes (I only baked for 12.) Remove when the pretzels are nicely browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then eat! I had mine w/mustard, Niall had mustard and ketchup. Also, I ended up having leftover dough so I made a few mozzarella pretzels (wrapped the dough around cheese) and normal pretzels (rolled a snake, wrapped it into a heart shape). I should have cooked these separately because they got a wee bit overcooked.