Let's talk hot dogs. Pretty much all kids love them, right? Mine would probably eat them every day if I allowed it. I loved them as a kid, too. In fact, I recall eating them cold and straight out of the package as a snack. Um, gross. I know. Hot dogs aren't generally something that call out to me these days. I eat them when there is a fire and s'mores involved, but given a choice I pretty much always choose a burger over a dog. But these pretzel dogs? These are a whole different story and I need these in my life. I think you just might, too.
Traditionally, soft pretzels are boiled in a baking soda bath before baking, but one day I was feeling lazy and decided I would try to skip that step to save some time and dirty dishes. I was so happy with the results because it turned this recipe into a realistic dinner that didn’t make a huge mess or require a ton of time. I found that if you dissolve the baking soda in super hot water and dunk each pretzel dog you still get the distinct tangy pretzel flavor without the extra hassle. Unnecessary dishes are the worst.
I’m a mustard lover and love to dunk these in regular ol’ yellow mustard and ketchup. The hubs is a dijon kinda guy and the kids usually go for just ketchup. Regardless of dipping preferences, these pretzel dogs get gobbled up quickly every time I make them and some kind of battle over the leftovers is usually involved.
While we're talking hot dogs, I have to tell you that I discovered some super yummy hot dogs this week. Usually I buy Nathan's or Hebrew National. But I bought these on a whim and they kinda blew me away. Park's Finest Ballpark Beef franks. We tried the "Signature Seasoned" flavor and my hubby even commented that they were really good and well seasoned. Huge bonus: made with 100% beef, no nitrates or nitrities, and no artificial preservatives. This isn't an ad and I'm not getting paid to say this, I just love you and felt like you should know.
1 ½ cups warm water1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast
4 ½ cups All Purpose Flour, give or take a few tablespoons
2 teaspoons Salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups hot water
¼ cup baking soda
Coarse salt for sprinkling
12 hot dogs *see note below
In the bowl of a mixer, add 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar, and instant yeast. To that mixture add the oil, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of the flour. Mix on low until all the flour is incorporated. Once flour is incorporated, begin adding the remaining cup a couple of tablespoons at a time until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should begin to form a ball around the dough hook. Knead for about 5 minutes. You should have a fairly stiff, pliable dough--not dry. Cover with a lid and let rise at room temperature for about an hour or until doubled in size. (You can speed this up by putting your dough in a warmer spot.)
Preheat oven to 425. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners, foil, or parchment. If using foil or parchment, grease it or your pretzels will stick!
In a small loaf pan, combine 2 cups of hot water (as hot as it comes from the tap is fine) and baking soda. Allow it to sit and dissolve while you roll out the dough. Remove hot dogs from package and pat them dry with a paper towel. This will help the dough stick to the hot dog better. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. On a clean and lightly greased work surface, roll the dough out into a rope about 24 inches long--you may want yours longer or shorter depending on how long your hot dogs are. Tightly wrap a pretzel rope around each hot dog pinching the end to help it stay in place. I like to let the ends peek out. Dunk each hot dog in the baking soda solution and set it on a cooling rack to drip. While they are wet, sprinkle with coarse salt. Once all the hot dogs have been dunked, transfer them to the baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes until they have a nice color and the hot dogs are heated all the way through. Serve immediately with ketchup and your favorite mustard for dipping.
Most hot dogs come in packages of 8--so I usually only make 8 pretzel dogs and then make 3 or 4 plain soft pretzels with the remaining dough in this recipe.