I think I’d like to write a book about how to make friends, entitled How to Make Friends, the almost fairytale.
Once upon a time there was a lonely girl who had but one friend… her snaggle-toothed mother. One day, in the kitchen, she stumbled upon a rare and delicious combination. A combination never before discovered in the land of Lonleyia. Warm, soft, salty dough met with… hot dogs.
It was as though rainbows, unicorns, and friendly hobbits had descended upon this special girl. People came from far and wide to sample her new found delicacy and friendships blossomed abound. It was like Springtime. Springtime of friendships.
Even the girl’s snaggle-toothed mother made a friend or two.
Never again was the lonely girl lonely (or hungry)…
Yea… my next book only has one chapter, one recipe, and about 34 words. No biggie.
So! You have two options here. You can re-read this story and go take a nap OR (and I totally suggest this next option) you could make these pretzel dogs this weekend, serve them with spicy mustard and cold beer, and make (or solidify) friendships of your own.
Choose your own adventure. No bigs.
Essentially, we’re wrapping soft dough around hot dogs. It’s nothing more complicated than that.
If that doesn’t sound like the best thing to happen all week, I invite you to come back in two days from now.
Ps. I love you.
Don’t be fooled by the twisty and golden brown nature of pretzels… they’re actually really simple to make.
It all starts with yeast, warm water, and flour.
At first the dough is shaggy shaggy.
With a little work of the dough hook, it will come together!
This is the luscious dough before rising.
It should feel light and soft. This will be a tender dough. It will be slightly sticky, but not sticky enough to actually stick to your hands.
It’s like a little dough pillow.
If your first instinct is to rest your head on the dough… you’re on the right track.
This is real life.
It’s juuust dough. Back off, kitten!
Beautifully risen dough.
It’s like magic in a bowl.
I leave dough to rise in an OFF gas oven, or on the back burner of my stovetop with the oven left on at 200 degrees F.
Cut the soft dough into 16 pieces (for 1/2 hot dogs) or 8 pieces (for big ol’ whole hot dogs).
So light and tender.
But don’t eat it yet!
Rolling the dough into ropes.
Channel your Play-Doh days.
Ropes get rolled 12-inches long for half dogs, and 24-inches for whole dogs. It’s science… or not at all.
If this seems like SO MUCH FUN to you… I consider us friends.
Just make sure that the ends are sealed and pressed together.
The next step is boiling!
If the dogs aren’t sealed up tight they might unravel a bit… which is totally not the end of the world, ps.
Pretzels are boiled in a baking soda and water solution.
The baking soda changes the alkalinity of the outside of the pretzel. Baking soda is what gives pretzels their distinctive chewy crunch and golden color.
Baking soda is what separates these pretzel dogs from bagel dogs… and these are most certainly NOT bagel dogs.
Although… if you’re interested in bagel pizza… I was too.
Serve these pretzel dogs to many. You’ll need to share. Don’t be like me and eat too many. While you’re in the kitchen making awesome, you might also consider these Fried Pickles!
These pretzel dogs are so warn, tender, and utterly delicious. I promise that these darlings will find you friends, lovers, and stalkers of the feline variety.
ps. Leave Me Alone, Kitten!
makes 16 pretzel dogs (made from cutting hot dogs in half)
recipe adapted from Alton Brown
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
about 14 cups of water
1 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.