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Pretzel hot dog recipe

As I think is common with most homebrewers, I enjoy cooking from time to time. There is something about creating your own stuff that is very rewarding. My wife and I have been dying for pretzels very since we left Philly. If you don’t know, Philadelphia is the mecca for soft pretzels. I believe the average Philadelphian consumers 4x the amount of pretzels that the average American does.

When looking around for pretzels, we decided that putting a hot dog in one would be a fun idea. So this is what we came up with.

  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • 1.5 tsp. of sugar
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 a stick of butter
  • 2 more cups of flour (will explain)
  • coarse salt

I found bits and pieces of different pretzel recipes on the interwebs, and just cobbled them together into this. Add warm water with the flour, salt and sugar into a bowl and mix well. It should be like pancake mix. Then thrown in the yeast and let it bubble a bit. Then add in the other two cups of flour and start kneading the dough. If it is sticky add a little more flour. Place it in a bowl and let it rise. While it is rising go ahead and cook off your hot dogs. We cooked five, but you can probably get away with up to eight.

11-10-05

After about an hour the dough is ready. Rip off a pieceĀ  and flatten it out so that it is about the size of your wrist to your fingertips. The thinner the piece is the less the dough will swell around the hot dog. Then you can put small cuts into the long side of the dough, leaving the area where the hot dog is going to do undisturbed. Place the hot dog in and then crisscross the dough.

Once you have done that for all of the hot dogs, place them on a cookie sheet and melt the half a stick of butter. Brush the melted butter on top of the dough and sprinkle on the coarse salt. Cook at 400 degrees for 1-15 minutes depending on your oven. Once the tops start to brown, check on them more frequently. Finally take them out of the over, allow them to cool a bit, and enjoy.

A few other things you could do are to put cheese in with the hot dog, perhaps something like a Philly cheese steak would be good as well. The possibilities are endless for what you could put inside. My persona;l choice would be to put cheese and a bacon wrapped hot dog in the center. Bacon makes everything better. You might still be wondering why this is on a beer blog, and all I have to say is that I felt like it and it involved yeast. Sounds good, enjoy. To see the rest of the pictures click on the following link. (more…)

Yeast

While there are literally hundreds if not thousands of different classifications for beer, they all come from one of two starting points. You either have an Ale or Lager. As a general rule, most macrobrews are lagers while microbrews are ales. We will get into why that is in just a bit.

So what is yeast?

Yeast is a single cell organism that eats sugar. When it eats (ferments) sugar it gives off three by-products; carbon dioxide (CO2), alcohol, and heat. This is why we use it for brewing, without yeast, we would have a grainy, sugary drink that didn’t make us feel very good (or as good as a drink with alcohol can).

Ale vs. Lager

As I said before, everything boils down to the type of yeast you use; lager or ale. An ale refers to a yeast that ferments on the top of the fermenter and will function from 60-76 degrees or so. If it gets any colder than 55 degrees, the yeast will go dormant and stop fermenting. Ales can ferment in 3-7 days depending on the sugar available. Generally ale yeast give you a higher alcohol concentration. Ales also give off a fruity ester flavor that is desirable for some types of beer.

A lager on the other hand is a bottom fermenting yeast and functions at colder temperatures (40-55 degrees). It tends to give a crisper beer, but also takes longer to complete. It can take as long as month and a half. Lagers are much lighter in body and tend to be harder to make. A lager does not give off the esters of an ale, and therefore, it can be easier to detect when something goes wrong.

My choices for homebrew

Luckily homebrew shops offer a huge variety of yeast. Some cultures are specially made to give special tastes. A hefeweizen yeast will often give a bananna flavor to the beer. The yeast also come in several different forms. The first is dry yeast. Dry yeast is freeze-dried yeast cells that are very cheap. You must rehydrate the yeast in order to give it a proper chance at life. Another problem is that it can become easily infected and cannot be used on multiple batches.

The other option is liquid yeast. These generally come in two forms, The first is a smack pack. There is a bag within the outer bag that hold yeast nutrient. When you smack the bag, you release the nutrient and the yeast start feeding and multiplying. It is an effective means of generating healthy yeast growth.

The other liquid yeast can be found in vials (pictured at the beginning of this article). It is basically a vial of dormant yeast cells that need to be grown a bit to get proper pitching rates. Liquid yeast is the way to go if you want to make several beers using the same type of yeast. It is reusable. The only real downside is the upfront cost. Dry yeast can be found for around a dollar, where liquid yeasts cost at least $6. But you get a better pitching rate and it can be used over and over again.

I’ll explain what I mean by some of these terms more indepth next week.