Pretzel Dogs

Pigs in a blanket – just in time for football season. The time of trials which can transform even the sweetest gentleman into a raging Hulk. Nothing like a a few interceptions to make a bunch of grown men cry (or forgot all their English except for a few choice four letter words).
According to B, the problem with watching sports is that they set up the tone for the week. 

B: ARRRRGHHHH &*^(SE#$A$% THAT FUMBLE!!!!!!! The Niners are gonna lose, and the Giants lost earlier already! This is going to be a horrible week!! *sob*

I just leave him to watch the TV while I do my work, but I can hear everything through the walls.

B: WHATTTT IS GOING ON!!!!?? *%$SD#*H^#*$HK*&J!!
N: I’m assuming your team is losing?
B: No, we’re totally winning!
N: Oh, if we’re winning, I assume you’d sound, uh… happier.

B is a huge sports fanatic, in case you couldn’t tell. He already wants to decorate our house in Lakers colors and name our first kid after Kobe Bryant.

B: *strutting around in Niners attire* Our kids one day will be Niners fans and you’ll be a Niners fan one day too. In fact, when you’re proven your knowledge, I’ll knight you with your own Niners jersey!
Chef Uy: Yay.

I admit, these pretzel dog babies take time, but they’re so cute! A shortcut is to use premade dough or ready made hot dog buns – however, pretzels are way better in my opinion. Pretzels require a washing soda or lye treatment to get their traditional “skin” and flavor through the Maillard reaction (ie browning). Recipe from Joy the Baker.

Now excuse me, I have to do my homework *cough* look up the statistics of Peyton Manning so I can have a knowledgeable debate with B on whether he’s the greatest QB of all time. Let’s see if I pass this dissertation defense.

Pretzel Dogs

1 ½ cups warm water (between 110 and 115 degrees F)
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 1/2 cups)
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

4 hot dogs, cut in half
about 7 cups of water
1/2 cup baking soda
1 large egg, beaten, with a splash of water
salt and pepper for topping

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine warm water and sugar.  Sprinkle the yeast on top of the water and set aside for 5 minutes.  The mixture will begin to foam and froth.  If it doesn’t, throw the mixture away and start again with new yeast.

Once the yeast and water is frothy, add the flour, salt, and melted butter.  Using the dough hook, mix on low speed until well combined.  Increase the speed to medium and knead the dough until it is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, creating a ball of dough around the dough hook.  Beat on medium speed for approximately 4 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bowl.  The dough will be soft, pliable, and just a bit sticky.  That’s perfect.  Scrape any residue out of the bowl and coat the bowl with a bit of vegetable oil.  Place the dough back in the bowl, sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and store in a warm place to rise.  Allow dough to rise, until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Place baking racks in the center and upper third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and lightly brush the paper with oil.  It’s important to brush the parchment paper or the pretzels will stick!

Combine water and baking soda in a large pan (8 quart is fine) saucepan and bring to a boil.

While the water comes to a boil, turn the dough out onto a clean, slightly oiled work surface.  Divide dough into 8 or 16 pieces, depending on how large you’d like your pretzel dogs.  8 pieces of dough for whole hot dogs.  16 pieces of dough if you’re doing to slice the hot dogs in half.

Start with the fingers of both hands in the center of the dough, and roll, moving your hands outward as you roll.  Roll the dough along the oiled surface until you have about a 24-inch or 12-inch piece of rope (depending on how large your piece of dough was… the more dough the longer the rope).

Wrap pretzel around a hot dog, making sure to seal the ends.

When water has come to a boil, gently lower a few pretzel dogs into the boiling water.  Boil for 30 seconds.  Remove carefully, using a flat, slotted spatula.  Place on prepared baking sheet.  Brush boiled pretzels with beaten egg, and add coarse sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

Bake until deeply golden brown, about 12 to 14 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack for a few minutes before serving warm.

Soft pretzels are best enjoyed the day they are made.

If you’re not going to enjoy all your pretzel dogs, double wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the freezer.  When ready to serve, transfer out of plastic and into a piece of foil.  Wrap well and bake in a 350 degree oven for 12 minutes, or until heated through.

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