I’ve been worse than usual about posting lately, possibly because there is a new baby (not mine) in my life taking up lots of time, or possibly because it’s been beautiful weather and the flowers are bursting and I’ve been spending tons of time in my yard. Or (most likely) because I am essentially a lazy person and I can’t be trusted to stick with something as benign and undemanding as what essentially amounts to a journal for longer than few months consistently. I’m trying, I promise. I love my posts, and I love sharing with you, I just wish they would write themselves while I think them.
You can basically assume that anything I post here in the next few months was done weeks before, and I have only the vaguest memory of what I actually did (and if I’m lucky, I’ll actually remember what recipe I used). So, that said…
A while ago, I made these pretzel dogs:
They were awesome. Comparatively easy, and really tasty. Calin didn’t like them as much as I did because, as he says, he doesn’t like the “baking soda flavor” that home-made recipes use to create the pretzel effect. I happen to love it, and he didn’t mind it, so I’ll probably make these again.
The ingredients, more or less: water, flour, egg, salt, butter, baking soda (yes, that stuff in the 1-cup measuring cup), and the all important yeast.
How to tell if your yeast is still good: Any kind of reaction when you put it in warm water. (If it doesn’t react, the other issue could be if your water is too hot or too cold. Yeast likes water between 105 and 115 degrees F, from what I’ve read in various recipes.)
Dough becoming dough:
Dough turning into pretzel dogs:
The big dip:
As an aside, the dip caused a few problems for me. I didn’t have the right utensils for getting the rolls into or out of the pot, and I couldn’t get them in fast enough to have an entire batch (I could only fit four) in at the same time, and I couldn’t remember which ones were in first because they kept bobbing around like crazy pretzel rolls. So, if you’re persnickety, try dipping them one at a time so you can give them the attention they need. Or you could do it my way and just not worry about it. They turned out just fine, some of them just divided a little bit.
Lay them out and season them:
Bake them on parchment paper. Yes, it will crisp a little; that’s fine. Then let them cool a bit so they don’t scald you when you bit into them.
We ate these with three different kinds of mustard and ketchup. I preferred my home-made mustard mixed with ketchup; Calin liked his dijon and a little ketchup on the side. I think there are infinite options for pretzel rolls. Next time, I might even add cheese.
Joy the Baker
makes 8 pretzel dogs or 16 1/2 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
- 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.
My note about storing these: We didn’t eat them all (2 people, 8 dogs. No matter how you do the math, this = explode.) so I put some in my amazing vacuum ziplocks in the fridge, thinking “if I take all the air out, these will stay better longer!” Well, they did. But it also squished them entirely out of shape. And reheating them didn’t come out quite as tasty as the original round from the oven. So I recommend making half the dough if you can only eat half the dogs, or saving them for a night when you have company, or figuring out how to eat all 8 without exploding. Or maybe just not suctioning the darned bag so well.