Thursday, July 4, 2013

Pretzel Hot Dog Buns

I'm really not much of a pretzel person. I never have been. Occasionally, yes, I enjoy a nice big soft pretzel dipped in a nice spicy cheese sauce, but that's about it. Hubby however, is a HUGE pretzel fan, and the kids seem to have inherited his love of all things pretzel. When I recently decided to try to save some money on hot dog buns, pretzel buns were the obvious choice. I made my dough in my bread machine, just because I'm a little too huge at the moment to try and get in and knead dough properly. Plus it's just easier. I'm all about making things easier. Also, we went swimming while we waited for the dough to rise in the bread machine. Why not? It's the fourth of July, y'all! 

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp active yeast (equivalent to one packet)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt

8 cups water
1/4 cup baking soda

1 egg

Combine warm water, sugar, honey and yeast in the bread machine, let sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast becomes foamy. Add in remaining ingredients and turn machine on "dough" setting. Keep an eye on the dough as it's mixing to make sure that it doesn't look too wet or dry. If it looks too wet and sticky, add flour, 1 tbsp at a time. If it looks too dry, add milk or water 1 tbsp at a time. Once the dough is smooth and elastic, let your machine do it's thing! 

When it's done, put the dough on a floured surface and divide into 8 -10 pieces, depending on how big you want your buns to be. Keep in mind that they've still got a little big of growing to do, so shape them slightly smaller than you want the end product. Let them sit in a warm place with a towel covering them for another 10-15 minutes while you preheat the oven and prepare the water solution. 

Preheat your oven now to 425ยบ. In a large pot, you'll want to boil 8 cups water, and add 1/4 cup baking soda once boiling. Depending on the size/depth of your pot, you may want to double the water/soda mixture. Once the buns have finished their last rise, drop them into the water mixture, 2 at a time, and boil for about 30 seconds on each side. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cut 3 diagonal slits in the top of each bun and brush with an egg wash (just beat a single egg and brush on!). Sprinkle coarse salt on top, if desired, and bake for about 12 minutes, until nice and brown on top. Remove to a cooling rack once they've cooled slightly so that the buns don't get soggy. 

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