In general, I don’t eat a lot of process food but when I do, oh boy, do I. I’m an all or nothing kinda gal. For instance, I have a deep secret love for Velveeta. I know – gross – but nothing makes a better grilled cheese sandwich. Really. And I have an intense love for hot dogs, specifically good kosher beef hot dogs and particularly, Chicago style dogs. For a long time, I’ve had a self-imposed one-hot-dog-a-month rule forged when I used to work next door to an awesome stand. I was eating a few too many there for a while, hence the need for the rule. Boiled, steamed, fried, grilled, charred, bacon wrapped, chili topped, dragged through the garden. Love ‘em all. Love those bagel dogs too – hot dogs wrapped in bagel dough. Hey, don’t judge! We all have our flaws. These are mine.
A few weeks ago, I posted my recipe for pretzel rolls after which, there were several musings and requests for pretzel dogs. Oh, hold on a minute. Let me rephrase that. All those requests were from my mother. Despite the one sided pestering, I was intrigued enough to give it a whirl. In honor of the Cubs home opener today, I offer up these ever so delicious pretzel dogs.
In theory, this sounded easy. Get some good kosher dogs, our hometown favorite Vienna Beef preferably. Wrap my pretzel dough around them, let rise, boil, glaze and bake just like the regular roll recipe. Sounds simple, right?
You know what? For once, one of my crazy projects actually was that simple. It surprised the hell out of me just how easy it was. Never one to leave well enough alone, I picked up a bag of cocktail franks and made mini pretzel dogs too. Just look at the picture up top! Aren’t they darling?
For the hot dogs, I purchased Hebrew National beef franks only because these dogs were long and thin. Vienna Beef are ever so delicious however they were shorter, fatter dogs and in my mind there would be a smaller pretzel-to-dog ration. With a longer frank, I could use more dough. Completely rational, right? See how my mind works?
So here’s what you do and let me be perfectly clear here. First and foremost get yourself some good hot dogs. Don’t spend all this time and tasty ingredients on some bogus fat free turkey frank or one of those cheapo emulsified crap dogs. ICK ICK ICK. This is where you want super tasty kosher beef hot dogs. I’m not kidding around.
Then the only thing that varies from the original pretzel roll recipe is that the dough is rolled around a hot dog rather than shaped into a round roll. Easy easy easy. Make the dough through the first rise as directed in the recipe. Then break off a piece – I used a 3oz piece, about the size of two ping pong balls – and roll into a long thin rope about 2 ½ times the length of the dog. Starting at one end of the hot dog, spiral the dough around then set on a lined sheet pan (parchment or silpat mats), cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm spot until doubled and poufy – about 30 minutes.
Then business as usual – poach in the baking soda solution, egg wash, salt and bake until golden brown. Then eat ‘em. Quite fantastic I must say. If you want to make mini snackers, use about 1 ½ ounces of dough, flattened into a rectangle and wrapped around the little frank, pressing to seal.
If you like sprinkle the tops with poppy seeds (for that true Chicago look) and/or sesame seeds. I had enough dough to wrap a 7-pack of full size dogs plus about 30 mini dogs. Seems like a lot, I know, so round up some friends or better yet freeze them. They freeze great – to warm, just wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave on 75% power for 45 seconds to 1 ½ minutes, depending on your microwave. Please note though that they’re best right out of the oven with honey mustard and yes, ketchup (gasp!)
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: GRAND SLAM! First off, these are hot dogs. Is there anything more delicious than a really good HOT DOG? I think not, my friends. Second, take a tasty beauty like that and wrap it in wonderful chewy delicious pretzel dough? Oh hell yeah. Beats a mushy bland bun every single time. And lastly, stock up the freezer and have tasty quick snacks all summer. Well alright alright. Home run, darling.
Quantities vary based on what you end up doing– makes 7 full size dogs + 30 cocktail dogs, or 7 full size dogs and a bunch of rolls, or about 60-80 cocktail dogs.
1 ½ cups warm water (110°F or comfortably warm to the touch)
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast (1 package) – not quick rise yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
4 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (2 ounces)
hot dogs of choice (see note above)
3 Tablespoons baking soda
large saucepan of water
1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
pretzel salt, poppy seeds and/or sesame seeds
- For the dough: Combine the water and the yeast in the bowl of a standing mixer and let rest 5 minutes until foamy.
- Add the remaining ingredients (sugar, flour, salt, butter) and mix with the dough hook until thoroughly combined, the dough comes together and is rather silky – but not sticky – to the touch.
- First rise: Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface.
- Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat mats.
- Shaping a full size hot dog: cut off a 3 ounce piece of dough (about the size of 2 ping pong balls) and roll into a long rope (about 2 ½ times the length of the hot dog.)
- Starting at one end of the dog, spiral the dough around making sure there are no gaps.
- Place wrapped dog on a sheet pan and continue with the others leaving at least 1″ between each.
- Shaping cocktail size dogs: take a 1-1 ½ ounce piece of dough and flatten into a rectangle as wide as the frank is long.
- Place the cocktail dog in the center of the dough square, wrap to enclose pressing to seal and place seam side down on a prepared sheet pan with at least 1” between each one.
- Second rise: Cover with a tea towel or a light film of plastic warp and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes until doubled.
- Preheat oven: 425°F and place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions.
- Poaching: In a medium saucepan, bring 2 quarts of water to a low boil.
- Add the baking soda and lower heat to a simmer.
- Carefully slip the pretzel dogs into the poaching liquid, seam side down.
- Poach for 30 seconds then carefully turn over in the liquid.
- Poach other side for 30 seconds then remove with a spider or slotted spoon, making sure to drain off all excess liquid, to the same prepared sheet pans seam sides down.
- Repeat with the remaining dogs, leaving at least 1” in between for baking.
- Glaze: With a pastry brush, glaze each roll completely with the egg wash making sure to coat the sides completely.
- Top each dog with a sprinkle of pretzel salt, poppy seeds and/or sesame seeds
- Bake: Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking.
- Cool just a little bit before eating.
- Pretzel dogs are best eaten on day of baking but they store pretty well in the freezer, wrapped tightly. Reheat in a damp paper towel for 45-90 seconds in the microwave.