Homemade Whole Wheat Pretzel dogs make this fun meal whether your watching the big game or a family movie with the kiddos. Make them small bites for an appetizer or large for a meal-on-the-go!
People assume that because I cook and have a blog about family friendly recipes that I cook with my children all the time. Um, no, I don’t. During the school year they get home around 4pm and it’s homework time and scouts and other activities that keep the five of us busy. Dinner is usually already made or getting made while they work.
And when school isn’t in session? I enjoy cooking and trying new things, but doing it everyday certainly takes its toll on me. And with the kids home, I recruit their help with the baking and cooking. The kids have been helping me bake and cook since they were little, but they still ask me for help when they stumble into the kitchen!
We were all desperate for something fun to make and eat, so I found this recipe for my whole wheat pretzel dogs. They were a big hit with the kids when they were little. What’s not to love? Soft home baked pretzels with a delicious hot dog inside. Think of it as a cross between a corn dog and soft pretzel!
Baking with whole wheat flour
Whenever I bake for my kids and family, I am always trying to make it a little bit healthier – even when it isn’t consider health food. Soft pretzels are loved by all of us, but I know we shouldn’t eat too much of a good thing! So for these pretzel dogs, I wanted to make them a little bit more healthy by adding whole wheat flour.
You should not replace all of a recipe’s all purpose flour with whole wheat flour without making any modifications. Whole wheat flour is a bit more dry and needs more liquid than regular white flour. For these pretzel dogs, I didn’t want them super heavy and made with just whole wheat flour.
So I split the flour 50/50, 50% all purpose flour and 50% whole wheat flour. You can make this modification in almost any baking recipe and for the most part, the recipe will turn out just fine. But if you want to completely use whole wheat flour, you will have to increase the water and fat in the recipe to keep the dough from turning into a lead weight once baked.
Whole wheat pretzel dough
This recipe does use yeast, but don’t let it intimidate you. Everything can easily be mixed in your stand mixer using the hook attachment. You start by adding salt, sugar and yeast in warm water. If the water is too hot, the yeast will die. If too cool, the yeast won’t foam or bloom.
Warm water means just that. Stick in your finger in and does it feel warm? If you pull your finger out because you can’t keep it in the water, it’s too hot. After the yeast is foamy, add in your flours and melted butter. Then let your mixer do the mixing!
You can totally mix the dough by hand, just a you would with bread. I’m lazy and prefer to let the stand mixer do hard work. You want soft and moist dough, so mix until the dough is no longer sticking to the sides of the bowl. Because whole wheat flour sucks up moisture, if your dough is crumbly and not sticking together, add some water one tablespoon at a time and work it in until the dough is soft.
As you can see in the picture below and in the video, I did not form a smooth ball before placing it in a bowl to let it rise. I probably should have, but honestly, the pretzel dough didn’t need it. This dough is very, very forgiving. And the final shots show you, the pretzel dough magically poofs up when finished.
If you have a newer style oven, check to see if it has the ‘proof’ button on it. This was a life changer for me and my bread making skills. Place your pretzel dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean towel and stick in the oven with the proof setting for one hour.
This is the perfect temperature for your dough to rise. No more running around the house looking for warm spots! What, am I the only one who did that?
Wrapping pretzel dough around hot dogs
Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, it’s time to start wrapping! This is a kid-friendly project, so get them involved. They love squeezing bread dough through their little fingers. Divide the dough into eight pieces if you are using 1/4-pound hot dogs or sausages. You can also cut the dough into smaller sizes if you want to make smaller hot dog bites.
Roll and squeeze and stretch the dough until you have a long rope, approximately 24-inches long. You’ll find that your kiddos will probably have an easier time doing this than you! They are naturals when it comes to massaging dough. And again, this is a very forgiving pretzel dough.
My rolls were not perfectly smooth, some tore and I had to reattach them to the rope. I had creases and tears that I tried to smooth over. The dough still puffs up and smooths out when cooked. Just be sure to tuck the end pieces under and back into the dough coils. This keeps it from unwrapping when it cooks.
How pretzels are made
Unlike regular bread, pretzels are not made simply by baking them. One big characteristic of pretzels is their dark smooth outer crust that encompasses the soft bread inside. This is achieved by boiling the pretzel dogs first in a water bath containing baking soda.
Baking soda is an alkaline ingredient. By boiling your pretzel dogs in water with baking soda, you are increasing the alkalinity on the outside of the pretzel. And by doing this, you can bake your pretzels for less time so it can brown more quickly. So wrap your dogs, tuck the ends, and boil them one by one for 30 seconds.
You want the water to a nice rolling boil. I confess that my pot wasn’t boiling as crazy as I wanted it to in the video. I was using my portable electric cook top for shooting videos. The first two dogs boiled well, but I couldn’t get the water hot enough. What you don’t see in the video is me getting frustrated and taking my pot to gas stove and finish the 30-second boiling jobs there.
The dough puffs some during this boiling process. So even if your hot dogs aren’t fully covered with dough before you boil, they will get covered as it boils and bakes. Again, this is such a forgiving recipe! Once the dogs are boiled, drip dry the wet dogs and place them on a silicone lined baking sheet.
Before you bake them in a very hot 450ºF oven for 13-15 minutes, brush on an egg wash all over the dough, even the parts close the bottom near the bottom of the pan. This egg wash gives your pretzel dogs some shine. Sprinkle with kosher salt and bake away!
How to serve up pretzel dogs
These whole wheat pretzel dogs are a bit darker in color than their all white flour counterparts, but the kids didn’t even notice the difference. They loved them now as big teenagers just as much as they did when they were little kids. My kids like to eat pretzel dogs alone or with ketchup. I prefer them with regular yellow mustard.
You can serve them with dijon mustard or any stone ground mustard, too. You can also use sausages instead of hot dogs, for a more gourmet touch. I love spicy sausages and they pair beautifully with this pretzel dough.
These pretzel dogs make perfect game day food or party munchies. Serve them with a whole variety of mustards, ketchups and relishes for your guests to customize their dog. You can also keep them in the refrigerator so they just need a reheat when you need to grab and go and eat on the run. They should last 5 days in the refrigerator if stored in an airtight container.
- 11 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 TBS granulated sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1 packet)
- 2 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 TBS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2/3 cup baking soda
- 8 1/4-lb hot dogs
- 1 large egg
- 1 TBS water
- 1 TBS kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment, combine 1 1/2 cups warm water, sugar and kosher salt. Sprinkle yeast over the water and let sit for 5 minutes, until foamy.
- Add in flour, whole wheat flour and cooled, melted butter. Mix on low speed until combined, then increase speed to medium and mix until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 5 minutes.
- If dough is crumbly and not holding shape, add water 1-tablespoon at a time until it is smooth and soft.
- Work dough into a ball.
- Coat a large bowl with non-stick spray or vegetable oil and place dough ball into the greased bowl.
- Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let it sit in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450ºF.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat and set aside.
- Combine remaining 10 cups water, baking and baking soda in a large pot over high heat and bring to a rolling boil.
- In the meanwhile, place dough on a lightly greased work surface or silicone pastry mat and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope, about 24-inches long.
- Wrap each rope piece around one 1/4 pound hot dog.
- Tuck the ends of each rope into the folds and place the dough wrapped dogs on the prepared baking sheet, seam side down. Cover with a damp paper towel while you work.
- Boil the pretzel dogs one at a time in the hot baking soda water for 30 seconds each. Use a slotted spatula to remove from the pot and place back onto baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg and 1 TBS water.
- Brush each boiled pretzel dog with egg wash and sprinkle with kosher salt.
- Bake until browned, about 13-15 minutes.
- Allow pretzel dogs to cool on a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Serving Suggestions: Serve with a variety of mustards, ketchup, melted cheese or other favorite dipping sauces.
Cooking Tips: These make 16 using regular bun-length hot dogs, or 8 using the larger 1/4-lb hot dogs (pictured above). You can also cut them up to make smaller bite-size treats. You can also use sausages of any variety.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1793Total Fat: 142gSaturated Fat: 56gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 65gCholesterol: 302mgSodium: 10444mgCarbohydrates: 66gFiber: 5gSugar: 8gProtein: 64g
This post was originally published July 2012. The photos and post were updated and video added.