I’m just going to say it, it is nothing to be ashamed of. I love me some hot dogs. Specifically, Vienna beef hot dogs. Chicago is known for their hot dogs. When we have friends visiting from out of town we take them out for Chicago hot dogs, Italian beef sandwiches, and Chicago pizza. If there are three things Chicago does right, it is hot dogs, Italian beef, and pizza. Gourmet we are not.
I’d like to give you a little education about hot dogs. My Dad used to own 2 hot dog stands in the Chicago area called Jerry’s Place, so I feel I am qualified. First of all, a Chicago hot dog comes with mustard, onion, sport peppers, relish, tomato, pickle and celery salt served on a poppy seed bun. Note that I did not say ketchup. One time I literally got yelled at for asking for ketchup with my fries at a local hot dog stand. The whole place was laughing at me. It seems they take this “no ketchup” thing pretty seriously. So seriously, they do not even have ketchup. Don’t be like me; don’t ask for ketchup at a hot dog stand known for their authentic hot dogs. You will never be able to eat a double dog with fries again without hearing the laughter in your head. The second thing is: there are more hot dog stands in Chicago then there are McDonald’s, Burger Kings, and Wendy’s combined. Find that hard to believe? So do I, so don’t quote me on it. But I did watch a special about hot dogs on channel 11 once and I do remember them saying that. Granted, that was probably in 1988. I told you, I love me some hot dogs.
Ok, so all that stuff I just told you about hot dogs. Fuhgeddaboudit. (In addition to watching documentaries about hot dogs, I also watch a lot of the Godfather.) We broke all the rules when we made these pretzel dogs. No poppy seed bun. Our condiment of choice: zesty nacho cheese sauce from a can. Chicago dog? No. Delicious? Yes. I’ve loved hot dogs all my life. I have just recently become obsessed with pretzels. Seriously, pretzel bread? That is some good stuff. If you enjoy the hot dog as much as I do you must, must, must make these pretzel dogs.
1 ½ cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
4 ½ cups all purpose flour
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 for topping
8 Vienna beef hot dogs cut in half or left whole
Begin by using your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Combine the sugar and water into the bowl. Add the yeast and allow to sit for 5 minutes until it is frothy. Add the flour, melted butter, and salt. Mix on low speed just until combined then increase speed to medium and continue to mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow the dough to double in size. I usually put the bowl next to the oven if I am using it.
Once the dough has risen. preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Combine the water and baking soda into a large pot and bring to a boil. Divide the dough into either 8 or 16 pieces. If you are using whole hot dogs then do 8 pieces. If you are cutting the hot dogs in half do 16 pieces. Lightly flour your work surface and roll each piece into a rope about 12 inches long. (Longer if you are doing whole hot dogs.) Wrap each hot dog with dough and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Once the water comes to a boil place a few hot dogs at a time into the water. Leave them there until the dough gets puffy and they float to the top of the pot. Place the hot dogs back on the baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with ketchup, mustard, or nacho cheese sauce.
Source: Joy the Baker