I’ve certainly made my fair share of homemade pretzels over the years, but never pretzel dogs. I decided to try a recipe my husband found in the newspaper for pretzel rolls. Then I did a bit of research to figure out the logistics of making the pretzel dog. Some of the methods involved dipping the bread rope into the boiling water, then forming it on the dog. That seemed a little messy to me. Other methods wrapped the dog, then dipped it into the boiling baking soda bath as I’ve done here. Many of the comments were that the dough slipped off the hotdog while it was boiling. I came up with a couple of ideas which prevented this problem. First, I dried the hotdogs before wrapping them. Then I sealed the ends and the seams of the dough with a little water to “glue” it in place. That did the trick for me. Only one unravelled a little, and I just reformed it back into place.
I’ve never been a fan of the baking soda flavor that seems to permeate most pretzel recipes. Case in point, Alton Brown’s pretzel recipe (imho) has way too much baking soda in the bath, which dominates the flavor. I decided to drastically cut the amount of baking soda, and as you can see…the crust formed & browned nicely. These turned out even better than I had hoped, and my family loved them…which, after all…is my motivation & goal!
Recipe adapted by Designs by Jeanne R
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 – 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 egg, separated
cornmeal – for the baking sheet
1/2 cup baking soda – for the boiling water
12 cups water – for boiling
poppy seeds & kosher salt – for sprinkling on top
1 package of hotdogs (8 count), dried with a paper towel
Combine the water, milk & butter in a little bowl, & microwave for about 45 seconds, set aside. Combine the flour, brown sugar, yeast, salt, & egg yolk. Incorporate the milk mixture into the flour mixture & then knead for about 5 minutes. Form into a dough ball, and place in a bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Flip the dough over, so that all sides are oiled. Cover with a clean dish towel or plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until doubled, about and hour or so.
Punch the dough down, then divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece out like a rope, until it is smooth, and about 12″ in length. Once they are all formed, cover them & allow to rest for about 20 minutes.
Bring the water to a low boil, then add the baking soda (which will foam up quickly). Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Prepare a baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle with the cornmeal.
Working with a length of dough, one at a time, flatten them a little, and then wrap each one around a hotdog. Start at one end, and wrap the dough around the dog in a spiral. Use a little water to seal each end, and on the seams if they need a little “glue” to keep them closed.
Drop 2 pretzel dogs into the boiling water, boil for 30 seconds, turning them a little in the water to coat all sides. Remove with a wire mesh bamboo strainer, to a clean cloth. (You can use tongs, but they leave indentations).
If they unravel & need to be reformed a little, they are still pliable at this point, so go right ahead and pretty them up! When you’re finished boiling each batch of two, place them all onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing a little bit apart. Brush the tops with a mixture of the egg white plus 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with a little poppy seed & kosher salt.
Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until nicely browned. (Rotate the pan about halfway through the baking for even browning). Serve warm with spicy brown mustard on the side.
Very good, & very filling! Of course my husband had to slice them in half length-wise, and cover with cheese. Why should that surprise me after all these years?!