State Fair food: Gooey cinnamon rolls. Gyros. Funnel cakes. Cotton Candy. Buttery Corn on the cob. Dill pickles. Kettle corn. Snow cones. Elephant ears. Chocolate dipped bananas. Fried twinkies. Fried anything.
It's one of those "so wrong, but so right" things.
There is something seriously wrong with Americans. We pay oodles of money for cheaply made foods that almost don't qualify as foods. Most of them are just fat fried in more fat. Or fat dipped in chocolate. Or chocolate fried in fat (fried Oreo, anyone?). Yummmm.
But soft pretzels? No frying. No chocolate. Just pure carbs! Dip them in some nacho cheese for that extra punch of flavor and grab some napkins to mop up your drool. Then go ride on the Zipper.
These pretzel dogs were so simple, but ridiculously delicious. I thought pretzel making would be much more difficult. I also assumed boiling the dough would make it wet, mushy, and hard to bring out of the water and onto the baking sheet. Wrong on both.
Now, I can't wait to try out some fun bagel recipes, since bagels and pretzels both employ the water boiling method.
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle room temperature beer
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
sea salt for sprinkling
18 hot dogs
Heat the beer in a saucepan over low heat until it reaches 110 degrees. Candy or meat thermometers work great.
Combine the warm beer, sugar, and 2 teaspoons salt in a bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top, and let stand for 5 minutes until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam.
Place the flour and butter in a bread machine. Add the yeast mixture, then select the dough cycle.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or grease with vegetable oil.
Beat the egg yolk in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon water; set aside.
Stir baking soda into 10 cups water in a large pot until dissolved, and bring to a boil.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly-oiled surface, and roll into a 10x20-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 18 1-inch wide strips, then wrap each strip tightly around a hot dog in a spiral, pinching the edges to seal, and leaving the ends open. About half an inch of hot dog should peek out of each end of the dough wrapper.
Drop 2 or 3 dough-wrapped hot dogs into the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and arrange the boiled hot dogs on the prepared baking sheets. Brush each pretzel dog with the egg yolk mixture, and sprinkle with the sea salt.
Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
Freezer tip - Since this is such a large recipe, you can serve enough for one night and freeze the rest for quick lunches or another dinner. Just be sure to NOT salt the ones you plan on freezing, as the salt will cause the dough to "sweat" as it defrosts, and nobody likes a soggy pretzel. After baking, let cool completely and throw them in a freezer bag. Reheat on half power in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. Delish!
Recipe adapted from Jan's Pretzel Dogs