I tried taking a shortcut on the pretzel dough, which was a total disaster. My bread machine came with a recipe for pretzel dough, but it turned out extremely dry and looked like a science experiment gone horribly wrong.
I went back to the drawing board and used a more traditional dough recipe as suggested in the blog What Megan's Making. Thanks to my stand mixer, it was a lot less work than I anticipated and the dough came out perfectly.
I recommend making these the day you are planning on eating them, although the dough could be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge in a Ziploc bag.
Ingredients (this can easily be made vegetarian)
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 - 115 degrees Fahrenheit)
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 package (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour (all-purpose flour would work if you don't have bread flour)
- package of 10 all-beef franks (regular sized, not the longer bun-length style) (for vegetarian alternative, use vegetarian hot dogs!)
- vegetable oil spray (not needed if you have a Silpat baking mat)
- 2/3 cup baking soda OR 2 Tbsp malt diastatic powder
- 1 egg white, whisked until bubbly/foamy
- more kosher salt, for topping
- Set up your stand mixer with the dough hook.
- In the bowl for your stand mixer, combine water, sugar, and yeast. Let sit for 3-5 minutes until mixture begins to foam.
- Add salt, melted butter, and 3 cups of the flour. Mix on medium speed, adding the 4th cup of flour slowly and letting the flour incorporate into the mixture. If needed, add the final 1/2 cup of flour. You are looking for the dough to be a little sticky but not wet and gooey. Another indication that you have a good ratio of flour to moisture is that the dough has collected around the dough hook in a cohesive ball.
- Place dough in a new, clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 hour.
Once dough has risen...
- Place a large stockpot of water, about 2/3 full, on the stove. Add baking soda (or, if using, malt diastatic powder) to water and bring to a boil.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Prepare cookie sheet by either spraying with vegetable oil OR placing a Silpat baking mat on the cookie sheet.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out pretzel dough until it is a large rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 10 thin strips. (If you have extra dough, you can use them to make regular pretzels)
- Wrap each strip around a hot dog, pinching at both beginning and end to seal them. I like them with the ends showing, but you can completely encase the hot dog with dough if you desire.
- Once water is boiling, turn down to medium heat. Drop 5 of the pretzel dogs in and let them cook for about 30 seconds - they should be floating.
- Remove pretzel dogs with slotted spoon and place on baking sheet. Repeat with the final 5 pretzel dogs.
- Brush each one with egg white and sprinkle salt on top.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes (checking frequently starting at the 12 minute mark) until golden brown. Remove and let cool about 10 minutes.
- Enjoy with mustard, cheese sauce, or any other desired toppings.