Chewy, soft pretzels with a not-so subtle just-right hit of salt, stuffed with your favorite hot dog – a recipe for a delicious lunch easy to take with or one to stay in with on a snowy spring day.
Many years ago, actually just approaching ten, we decided to move to Alaska. There are many different Alaskas within this beautiful state. The one we chose to move to was the Alaska Bush, a place we knew would be challenging, fascinating and exciting and a place where we knew we would need indoors hobbies to entertain us during cold and dark winters. One of my first goals was to become a baker. To set myself up for success, I sent out hundreds of pounds of different flours, sugars, flavorings, pans, cutters, and a beautiful tapered rolling pin with inlaid bamboo for inspiration (a lovely gift from Jack).
As my baking skills improved, I graduated from bread-in-a-rice-cooker to a a bonafide bread machine. As I continued to improve my baking, I ditched the machines and really dug into the whole process of baking. During my initial education, I enlisted the help of The Great Courses and chef Stephen Durfee from the Culinary Institute of America (via the online class). For six Sundays in a row, the three of us dutifully watched these classes and then baked – with feedback from countless taste-testers. We learned how to create lattice-crusted pies, ganache-topped éclairs, and mousse-filled many layered chocolate cakes. That was just the start. By the way, if you’ve ever wanted to really learn how to bake, I highly recommend the Baking Pastries & Desserts class from the Great Courses. I also highly recommend sharing the experience with friends. It was a lovely introduction into serious baking.
Of course, spending this much quality time with friends can only make friendships grow. After completing our class, my friend Reba and I continued to bake together, share recipes and swap tastes of new creations. Pretzel dogs always remind me of Reba and those baking days in Point Hope. This recipe produces an agreeably light, airy roll and is part of my permanent rotation. Thanks to Reba for the spiral wrapping style!
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 10 good quality hot dogs
- coarse sea salt
- 1/2 cup baking soda
- 16 cups water
- Whisk milk and yeast together in a large bowl. Let stand for a few minutes until yeast starts to foam.
- Stir in oil.
- Stir in 1 cup flour and mix until well combined.
- Stir in salt.
- Mix in remaining 3 cups of flour.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface.
- Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
- Place dough in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut dough into 10 equal pieces.
- Roll dough pieces into long snakes. Coil dough around each hot dog, pinching the end pieces of the dough to secure it.
- Let pretzel dogs rest while you prepare pretzel bath.
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- In a large pot, boil 16 cups water and salt.
- When water is boiling, stir in baking soda.
- Place 2 pretzel dogs in boiling water for 30 seconds. Flip and continue to boil for 30 more seconds. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Repeat with remaining pretzel dogs.
- Sprinkle each pretzel dog with coarse salt.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Pretzel dogs are finished when they are a rich dark brown.
- Let cool for a couple of minutes on baking sheet.
- Serve warm with Dijon or another good quality deli mustard and a delicious red ale.