The words were still leaving my cousin's lips when I turned to my fiancé and said, "We have to, I need to taste that."
Several days after Christmas we were with yet another group of family members, and my cousin began telling us about a new place downtown where everything was made into a pretzel. Stuffed pretzels, pretzel pizzas, pretzel calzones (I died) and...pretzel-wrapped hot dogs.
Now, you know that I'm a highly snobby, slightly pretentious food snob, but I do love and thoroughly enjoy a good hot dog. It's my #1 guilty pleasure food. Load it up with sweet pickles and I'm close to fainting with joy.
So, it is no surprise that when I heard the words "pretzel-wrapped hot dogs" I grabbed my keys and begged someone to help me find this heavenly establishment. I ordered without hesitation and, after a few, long moments of anticipation, I was holding a bag of happiness. The greasy, sweet, butter leaked through the brown paper bag and the perfume of freshly baked, yeasty dough consumed my senses. This was going to be good.
I ate it all. Well, I had to share a little bit with my fiancé, but he got no more than a small bite. It was everything I had dreamed it would be, and at that moment I knew I was going to create my own version of this delicacy at home.
The task was really a simple one, and I am no stranger to pretzel-making. I began by making a batch of my favorite pretzel dough and then waited eagerly for it to rise. I chose the fancy all-beef, no nitrate hot dogs because that is the only kind I can will myself to buy, but if you would like to go for something a bit more traditional - well, I won't tell.
The hardest part of this recipe is wrapping the hot dogs. It is not overly difficult, but the hot dogs do tend to resist being wrapped up at times. I dried mine a bit to remove any excess moisture that would prevent the dough from clinging as it should.
This video shows the simplicity of the wrapping process, as well as my mad dough-rolling skills. Ha. Haha. Kidding. Oh, and that bench scraper is also my highly sophisticated kitchen ruler.
After the dogs have been swaddled, they are boiled for thirty seconds in a baking soda bath. The reason for this is threefold. First, the baking soda will assist with browning and give the pretzels that deep, mahogany color. Second, the baking soda will also give our pretzels that pretzel-y taste we all love. Lastly, the boiling will give the bread a lovely, chewy texture.
Do not even think about skipping this step! An unboiled pretzel is not a pretzel.
After their bath, these pretzels receive a coating of egg wash and a heavy sprinkling of kosher salt.
I once tried to make pretzels with regular old table salt. The result was less than pleasing. It's gotta be the coarse stuff.
While the pretzels were baking, I turned my attention to a dip. The dog I ordered was served with honey mustard and it was fantastic, but I wanted something different. At the time, I was also thinking that these would make pretty amazing game day food and then I thought of a bunch of guys screaming on the couch, and then I thought of beer and cheese, and then I made this wonderful mess.
As soon as the pretzels come out of the oven they are brushed with melted butter to make them just a little bit more wonderful.
Portion the dip into little bowls, there is no way around double-dipping when it comes to hot, melty cheese dip.
Classically succulent hot dogs enveloped in soft, salty, buttery pretzels. Could it get any better? I think not.
Pretzel Dogs with Smoked Gouda & Beer Dip
pretzel recipe slightly adapted from Alton Brown / makes eight
for the pretzels
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 22 ounces all-purpose flour, roughly 4 1/2 cups
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- vegetable oil, for greasing
- 8 all-beef hot dogs
- 10 cups water
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- egg wash (1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon of water)
- course-ground kosher salt or sea salt
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar, and kosher salt. Sprinkle yeast on top and allow to sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
Add the flour and melted butter to the yeast mixture and fit your mixer with the dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed until the flour and butter are well incorporated. Change the speed to medium and knead until the dough is smooth and begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. This will take about 5 minutes.
Remove the dough gently and place in a large bowl greased with vegetable oil. Cover with a damp towel and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large, heavy saucepan, combine baking soda with 10 cups of water. Bring to a rolling boil.
Turn the dough out unto a floured surface and portion into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a 15-inch rope. Wrap the rope around each hot dog, twisting tightly to form a case.
Place the pretzels in the boiling water, one at a time, for 30 seconds. Transfer the boiled pretzels to the prepared sheet pans. Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.
Bake the pretzels until they are deep golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. While the pretzels are baking, prepare the dip.
for the dip
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons ground mustard
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup dark beer
- 3.5 ounces smoked gouda, shredded
- 3.5 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, 1-2 minutes, until the flour has just started to brown.
Whisk in salt, mustard, and milk. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute, until the milk has thickened, then add the beer. Cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is smooth and the beer has cooked off slightly.
Remove from heat and stir in shredded cheeses.
Pour the dip into an oven-safe pan and place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, until the top has browned. Serve immediately with freshly baked pretzel dogs. Enjoy!