I saw these on Joy the Baker's blog and I knew I had to make them. I was happy with the way they came out, and in the end I had no problems with the recipe whatsoever. The only criticism I have of these at all...is that I just don't really like hot dogs. I know I said that last week about brie and goat cheese, so I don't want to sound all negative, but... Want to hear about it?... So after being vegetarian for a few years I recently decided to resume my carnivore ways once again. First I started with chicken (the most unassuming), then deli meats (so benign, really), and finally steak (every fourth Wednesday). I haven't tried a hot dog in at least two years. When I opened the package to make these I actually stole a few, cooked them, and ate them bun-style with ketchup and mustard. That was it. I'm totally good for another three years. But I will say that the actual pretzel part came out so great and so pretzel-y that I'm going to make this again in pretzel shape sans hot dogs. For a fun appetizer I don't think these can really be beat. They're just so darn cute!
Rather than jumble this recipe all up with my notes, I'm going to give them to you here. First of all, you see that some of these ingredients are in weight, right? Flour is something that always varies in volume when making a bread(y) dough - notice most recipes give a volume range of about a cup (i.e. it will say 3-4 cups all purpose flour in a bread recipe). This is important! If you're not using a scale to weigh out your ingredients, you should start with the smaller volume amount, knead, and re-assess. Variations in the way flour is measured from person to person translates into wetter or drier dough...if you have a scale and want to use it you can go ahead and measure out the exact weight with confidence. (p.s. I hope I just made sense). My other tip is to make sure you keep your dough pieces covered with a kitchen towel when rolling out individual pieces of dough. They dry out really fast.
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1 tbl granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp (1 package) active dry yeast
22 ounces all-purpose flour (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups)
2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbl salted butter, melted and cooled
8 hot dogs, cut in half
about 14 cups of water (or a big pot full)
1 cup baking soda (or half a box-ish)
1 large egg, beaten, with a splash of water
coarse salt for topping
spicy mustard for serving
In the bowl of a stand mixer whisk together the water, sugar, and yeast until no clumps remain. Let sit for 5 minutes. The yeast should get frothy or foamy, this is how you know it's alive and ready to go. Measure out your flour and add it to the bowl with the yeast. Add the salt and melted butter, and mix with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together (it will be shaggy, but should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl). Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead on low speed for 10 minutes - check the dough after a couple minutes of kneading - it should be soft and slightly sticky without actually sticking to your fingers - add more flour if needed and resume kneading. Once the dough has been kneaded remove it from the bowl. Wipe out the bowl to remove any bits that may have gotten left behind, brush it with oil, and replace the dough ball into the bowl. Sprinkle with a touch of flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for one hour (the dough should double in size).
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper that has been lightly brushed with oil. Prepare a large pot with water and baking soda, and begin to bring to a boil. Meanwhile place the risen dough on a lightly oiled work surface and cut into 16 pieces. Roll a piece of dough into a 12 inch rope and wrap around a hot dog piece, making sure to pinch shut the ends. Repeat with all 16 hot dogs. Once the pot of water has come to a boil drop 4 pretzel dogs in at a time, boiling for about 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon to the prepared baking sheets. Brush the pretzel dogs lightly with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a dark golden brown. Serve with spicy mustard.
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.
Source: Recipe adapted from Joy the Baker who adapted it from Alton Brown.