I pretended to be Lindsey Vonn this weekend at the ski hill in Bemidji! And by that I mean, we went skiing. Finally! Because it was a tropical 34º. And then any time I was scared going down the black diamond, I just said “Lindsey Vonn” out loud and that helped me be courageous.
(Should we try that with other things? Should we just shout “Ina Garten” any time we’re getting a bundt cake out of the pan?)
Now that we’ve graduated from the tiny cute Bemidji hill, we are in the market for a slightly taller more aggressive Midwest ski hill so that we can try and work our way up to Whistler. We hear Lutsen is good, but I really just want any place that will force me to earn an après ski hot tub/cheese fry combo.
On Sunday night we made guacamole and quesadillas and went across the street to the Eggparents’ and watched three quarters of the Vikings… not… doing… so….
I think that it is too soon to mention football in the state of Minnesota…
But if, say, we decided we were due for a party to watch a Justin Timberlake concert that’s sandwiched between two halves of a big sports event, then these pretzel challah bagel dogs would certainly be on the menu, no? Pigs in blankets have been on the menu of every halftime concert viewing party throughout history, from packed bashes in Harlem with the Juilliard double bass section, to percussion basement parties in Short Hills at Sam’s house, to the few parties that we’ve thrown here on the farm. They’re a must. The reason for the season.
Remember when I went through my pretzeling phase? That was fun in kind of a dangerous way, I still have the bottle of lye in my cabinet, but in the past few years now I’ve opted to go the baked baking soda route when I make pretzels. You bake a bunch of baking soda at a low temp for like an hour and that increases its intensity, and then you put that into a bath for your pretzels. It’s more intense than just using regular baking soda (which equals more pretzel flavor) but less intense than lye (which equals less risk of burning off your esophagus). And I find it makes pretzeling things way more accessible, so accessible that when Kristin came to visit for a weekend with her Packers fan fiancé a few months ago and we decided we wanted to make pretzel dogs for the game, we didn’t feel the need to *not* stay out until 2am in order to be alert enough in the morning to handle risky chemicals.
These doggos are in a sweet eggy challah blanket that stays so nice and soft and takes beautifully to its pretzel shell, and then they’re sprinkled with everything bagel topping because if you don’t have a huge jar of it on hand by now, are we even bffs?????? (I used to measure this out but now I just buy a bunch of minced dried onion, minced dried garlic, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds and dump them into a deli container with a few really good pinches of kosher salt, that’s it. Caraway seeds are optional.) These things combine three of the best carbs, the only thing that could possibly make them better would be to add my fourth favorite carb, the potsticker. Or maybe pretzel challah bagel potsticker dogs sound like too *much*.
Unpopular opinion: I’ve been preferring full-sized hot dogs for pigs in blankets over lil smokies. Two reasons: 1. It’s easier to find full-sized hot dogs/sausages that don’t contain unpronounceable ingredients, 2. It’s easier to get a good bread : wiener ratio. Lil smokies are too skinny and make it too easy to have too much breadiness. You can always cut big hot dogs down into party-sized slices, but the thickness of a full-sized wiener really helps us with what we’re trying to achieve here.
*Keeps a straight face*
pretzel challah bagel dogs
2 1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
3/4 c (178g) warm water, 105-110ºf
1 tsp plus 1⁄4 c (50g) sugar
3 1/2 c (448g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/3 c (66g) flavorless oil
Baking soda bath:
1 c (230g) baking soda
2 c (472g) water
16 precooked hot dogs/sausages/veggie dogs
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water
everything bagel topping (see above)
ketchup and mustard, for serving
in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine remaining sugar, flour, and salt. in a separate bowl, beat together the eggs and oil.
add the yeast mixture and then the egg mixture to the flour and stir to combine. Knead either in the stand mixer or by hand on a floured surface, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, for 7 to 10 minutes, until smooth and just slightly sticky.
Grease the inside of a large clean bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover again with the towel and let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, bake your baking soda. Preheat the oven to 250ºf, spread the baking soda out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Let it cool and set it aside until after you've shaped your dogs. (Even though the baked baking soda isn't as strong as lye, it could potentially irritate your skin, so avoid touching it once it's out of the oven.)
Increase the oven to 375ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
split the dough into 16 equal portions and keep it covered when you're not working with it. Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll out a long skinny snake and wrap it firmly and evenly around a hot dog. Roll it back and forth on your work surface a couple of times so that the coils of the dough stick together, and then place it on a baking sheet. Continue with the remaining dough and hot dogs, placing them 1 1/2" apart on the baking sheet. Cover and let rise for 20 more minutes.
Make the baking soda bath: place the baked baking soda in a large bowl or casserole dish and add the 2 cups of water. Stir it to dissolve the baking soda (I've never been able to get all of it to dissolve, so a few baking soda chunks are totally ok as long as they don't stick to the dough). Using gloved hands or tongs and working in batches, immerse the dogs into the mixture for about 2 minutes on both sides. Pat them dry with a paper towel and place them back on the baking sheet. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with everything bagel topping, and bake until golden brown; begin checking for doneness at 16 minutes. Let cool slightly, serve with ketchup and mustard and enjoy!