Whenever I’m at a stadium I always buy a pretzel dog. I love to bite through the tender dough into a well cooked hot dog. Add a little spicy mustard and I’m a happy woman! 🙂 Enjoy these easy to make, bite sized versions while watching the Big Game!
Hot dogs and cocktail wieners are tasty, but usually of dubious origin. It’s possible to find organic/real food hot dogs but the search may be long. The ones I bought were jarred and packed in water, like those shown at the bottom of the post. Buy whatever type of cocktail wiener you feel comfortable eating. Alternately, you could cut cooked sausages or hot dogs into bite sized pieces.
If you can make pizza dough from scratch you can make pretzels. In fact, this is a really good recipe to include any young helpers you may have around the house. Pretzel bites are very forgiving. It doesn’t matter if they aren’t uniform in size, they’re going to cook up great anyway.
Don’t skip the step where the pretzels are boiled in baking soda water. This is what gives them the shiny brown crust typical of a soft pretzel. Just work in batches, adding a handful at a time. Scoop them out of their bath with a spider, drain briefly and place them directly on the baking tray.
To make pretzel dog bites I drew upon two recipes, one from The Food Charlatan and the other from Our Three Peas. You should have enough dough to make a couple dozen pretzel dog bites plus some extra for plain old pretzels if you like. To wrap the wieners, I pulled off a piece of dough and patted into a rough rectangle then rolled the wiener up in it and pinched it shut. This is how I saw them made in an Amish market we used to visit. It doesn’t take long to figure out how much dough is needed. To make unfilled bites, roll the dough into ropes and cut the ropes into smaller pieces. You could also form the traditional pretzel shape or just about any other shape you’d like with the same dough (pretzel rolls, anyone?)
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons table salt
- 1 tablespoon yeast (one packet)
- 4½ cups flour (reserve ½ cup for kneading)
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted (a half stick)
- cocktail wieners or other cooked sausages cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 quarts water
- ½ half cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons melted butter for brushing on the pretzels
- coarse salt for sprinkling on the pretzels
- Place the warm water, yeast and sugar in a large mixing bowl. You should see some activity in a few minutes.
- Add the flour, melted butter and salt and mix with your hands to form a soft dough.
- Flour your kneading surface with some of the reserved flour. Turn out the dough and begin to knead it, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed.
- Give the mixing bowl a quick rinse and dry. Then place the kneaded dough inside and cover it with a towel. Set it aside until the dough doubles in size.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Prepare two baking sheets with baking spray.
- Heat the water and baking soda in a large dutch oven to a brisk simmer. You'll bring it to a boil before before adding the pretzels.
- Punch the dough down and divide it into workable pieces. For example, I had a container of 18 cocktail wieners. I divided the dough into four portions, using half for the wieners and the other half for plain bites.
- Pinch off a piece of dough and pat or roll it into a rectangular shape a little narrower than the wiener, but long enough to wrap around with a little overlap. Roll up the wiener and pinch the ends shut. Set aside while you finish forming the others.
- To make bites, roll a portion of dough into a rope about an inch thick. Cut into bite sized pieces.
- Return the baking soda water bath to boiling.
- Melt the butter and have a brush ready. Measure a couple tablespoons coarse salt into a small bowl.
- Working in batches, add about 10 pretzel dog bites at a time to the baking soda water bath. They'll sink then begin to rise to the top. After about 30 seconds, remove them from the bath with a spider and transfer to a prepared baking sheet.
- When the sheet is full, brush each pretzel with melted butter and sprinkle with salt (you can do this after they come out of the oven, too).
- Continue working in batches until all the pretzel dog bites have been in the baking soda bath.
- Bake for 12 - 15 minutes or until they are dark brown and baked through.
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