No sooner had I perfected my soft pretzel recipe, than my husband said, “This pretzel needs to be wrapped around a hot dog”. He was right.
The taste and texture were exactly like a “real” pretzel. Soft on the inside and chewy on the outside. It was hardly a giant leap to make the best gluten-free soft pretzels into pretzel dogs. So, I followed my simple pretzel recipe, wrapped the amazing dough around a hot dog, and…
Yum! One bite and I was transported back to one of my pre-celiac guilty pleasures, the pretzel hot dog bun from Wienerschnitzel (a hot dog-focused fast food chain, mainly in California and Texas). If you miss those pretzel buns or the pretzel dogs sold at Wetzel’s Pretzels and Aunt Annie’s in malls around the U.S., you are going to love this recipe.
There is a little bit of magic involved, but not a lot of hard work. The most important pieces to the perfect pretzel wrap are King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread flour, instant yeast, and a baking soda bath. Those 3 things are instrumental in making these gluten-free pretzel hot dogs every bit as good as the ones you’ve been missing. I’ll delve into those details below.
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- Stand Mixer with Dough Hook: for the heavy mixing required in making the gluten-free pretzel dough.
- Kitchen Scale: for accurately measuring the gluten-free flour. You’re going to love the results with this flour so much, that it will be worth picking up on an inexpensive scale for next time. In a pinch, you can measure out two cups using a scoop-and-level method: scoop the flour into a measuring cup with a spoon until it is heaping, then level off the top with the back edge of a knife. You may have to adjust the flour if the dough is too
- Saucepot: for the baking soda bath that gives the dough a perfect chewy pretzel texture. I use a basic 4-quart pot.
- Slotted Spatula or Slotted Spoon: for letting water drain when you remove the pretzel dogs from the baking soda bath.
- Baking Sheet: line with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat for easy clean-up.
The Magic Ingredient: King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Flour is a game changer for baking gluten-free treats that are otherwise very hard to replicate in a gluten-free diet.
After a celiac diagnosis or another medical reason for going gluten-free, we all struggle with disappointment when seeking out great replacements for yeast dough recipes. Bread, pizza, cinnamon rolls, pretzels, and donuts top the list of things we miss.
This is where gluten-free wheat starch comes along. It has been processed to remove the gluten-containing grain and leave behind only the starch.
In the United States, to be labeled gluten-free, a product containing wheat starch is required to have gluten levels below 20 ppm to be labeled gluten-free. Additionally, the label must state, “The wheat has been processed to allow this food to meet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requirements for gluten-free foods.”
For those of us with celiac disease, gluten-free wheat starch is considered safe and gluten-free. It is not safe, however for those with a wheat allergy.
For more information, see my article Is Gluten-Free Wheat Starch Safe for Celiacs?
I have also tested this recipe with another gluten-free wheat starch flour, Caputo Fioreglut Gluten-Free Flour. I discovered this flour while traveling in Italy and learned that many Italian Celiacs trust it to make amazing gluten-free pizza. Like the King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Flour, Caputo Fioreglut is made with gluten-free wheat starch. If substituting Caputo Fioreglut, see the notes section of the recipe for adjustments. Both Caputo Fioreglut and King Arthur Gluten Free Bread Flour are available on Amazon, if you have a hard time finding them locally.
The Other Magic Ingredient: Instant Yeast
As soon as the warm water hits the flour and yeast in your mixing bowl, you’ll know you’ve got something wonderful coming. It’s the same aroma you remember from your gluten-baking days.
The instant yeast in this recipe means there’s no need to proof it. Just make sure it’s within the expiration date on the package and toss it in the mixing bowl with the other ingredients.
I use Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast. It’s easy to find in stores and is labeled gluten-free. 1 ⅛ teaspoon is half a packet. You can eyeball half a packet, precisely measure out 1 ⅛ teaspoons, round off your teaspoon estimating an extra ⅛ teaspoon, or use a kitchen scale to measure 3.5 grams of instant yeast.
- Hot Dogs: Use your favorite gluten-free turkey, beef, or plant-based hot dogs. In my house, we typically use Applegate Hot Dogs which are labeled gluten-free.
- Brown Sugar
- Warm Water (for dough): the water should be lukewarm, not hot, or it will begin to kill the yeast.
- Melted Butter
- Baking Soda Bath (water & baking soda)
- Optional Dips: ketchup, mustard, gluten-free nacho cheese sauce
The first time you make this recipe, it can sound intimidating, between letting the dough rise and giving it a baking soda bath. You’re going to be surprised by how easy it actually is, starting with making the dough. All of the dough ingredients go in the bowl at once, and the stand mixer does all of the hard work.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Flour, salt, instant yeast, brown sugar, warm water, and melted butter.
Use a dough hook at #2 speed for five minutes. Pause the mixer after the first minute to scrape the bottom and side of the bowl to ensure all of the flour is being incorporated.
During mixing, the dough should have formed into a ball. Cover the mixing bowl with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place for one hour.
The dough will rise about 150%.
About five minutes before the dough is done rising, it’s time to prepare for assembling the pretzel dogs:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a large pot, bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil.
- For easy clean up and even baking, line a cookie sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper and set it aside.
- Use a paper towel to pat dry the hot dogs.
When the dough is ready, cut it into 6 roughly even pieces.
Roll each piece of dough into a long rope about double the length of the hot dog. Gently push down along the length of the rope to flatten it just slightly. Wrap a piece of rolled dough around a hot dog, starting at one end of the hot dog and twisting it around at a slight angle until you reach the other end. Repeat until all six hot dogs are wrapped.
By this time, the baking soda bath should be boiling. This is the final bit of magic, where the ideal chewy pretzel crust is formed.
Place 1-2 wrapped hot dogs at a time into the boiling water. I use a slotted turner spatula to put the pretzel dogs in the water and to take them out. After 20-30 seconds, carefully retrieve the pretzel dog from the water with the slotted spatula and allow the excess water to drip off. Repeat with all pretzel dogs.
Place pretzel dogs onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.
Bake the gluten-free pretzel dogs until they are dark golden brown, approximately 16 minutes.
Remove from the oven and enjoy with your favorite dipping sauce. These pretzel dogs are at their most amazing when served warm! Your family may never settle for plain-old, gluten-free hot dog buns again.
Double the Recipe: This American classic is perfect for a Super Bowl party or any fun get-together. To feed a crowd, double all ingredients, except for the water bath ingredients. For the yeast, use a whole packet of Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast, which contains 2 ¼ teaspoons.
Mini Pretzel Dogs: You can cut the dough ropes and hot dogs in half. Or, instead of regular hot dogs, purchase miniature hot dogs for bite-sized pretzel dogs. Boar’s Head Cocktail Frankfurters and Eckrich Li’l Smokies are labeled gluten-free. You’ll need to adjust the size of the rolled dough and baking time for the bite-sized version, being sure to bake until the pretzel wrap is deep golden brown to fully cook the dough.
Various Toppings: I prefer to keep my pretzel dogs plain as the hot dogs are just-right-salty for me, but you can add your preferred topping after the water bath, just before baking. Coarse sea salt, everything bagel seasoning, poppy seeds, and sesame seeds are all good options.
Mummy Pretzel Dogs: This is a delicious spin on my gluten-free mummy dogs, and they’re even better than the original. Use a dot of mustard or ketchup to add candy eyes to make adorable, gluten-free mummy pretzel dogs. When wrapping the dough around the hot dogs, be sure to leave a little space for eyes after the first twist.
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Gluten-Free Pretzel Dogs
- 240 grams King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Flour* (approximately 2 cups)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 ⅛ teaspoon instant yeast (I use ½ a packet of Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise Yeast, 3.5 grams.)
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- 7 ounces warm water
- ½ tablespoon melted butter
- 6 hot dogs
- 9 cups water
- ½ cup baking soda
- optional dips ketchup, mustard, gluten-free nacho cheese sauce
- Mix Dough: Mix King Arthur Gluten-Free Bread Flour, salt, instant yeast, brown sugar, warm water, and melted butter in a stand mixer with a dough hook at #2 speed for five minutes. Pause the mixer after the first minute to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure all of the flour is being incorporated.
- Let Dough Rise: The dough should have formed into a ball shape during mixing. Cover the mixing bowl with a towel and let the dough rise for one hour. The dough will rise about 150%.
- Prepare for Baking: About five minutes before the dough is done rising, preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large pot, bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Pat the hot dogs dry.
- Wrap Hot Dogs in Pretzel Dough: Divide dough into 6 pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a rope twice as long as a hot dog, approximately 12-inch long. Gently push down along the length of the rope to flatten it slightly. Wrap a piece of rolled dough around a hot dog. Repeat with all rolled dough and hot dogs.
- Baking Soda Bath: Gently place 1-2 pretzel dogs at a time into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Carefully retrieve the pretzel dog from the water with the slotted spatula and allow the excess water to drip off. Repeat with all pretzel dogs.
- Bake: Place pretzel dogs onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake until deep golden brown, approximately 16 minutes.
- Enjoy: Remove from the oven and serve warm with ketchup and mustard or gluten-free nacho cheese sauce for dipping.