These pretzel hot dogs will be the BEST pretzel dogs you'll have. Authentic Wiener hot dogs are wrapped in authentic German pretzel dough. They can't get better than this and would make any German happy!
My clear step-by-step instructions in the recipe card will help you confidently make pretzel dogs from scratch whenever you feel like it. And you'll feel more German doing it! Bake some for your next sports event, birthday party, or just because.
Let me walk you through how to make pretzel hot dogs from scratch like a German would make them. No, Germans don't typically eat pretzel dogs, but if they did, this is what they would do.
- Make the dough. Yes, with my pretzel dog recipe, you will start by making pretzel dough just like the dough that used for my authentic twisted pretzels.
- Cover the dough and let it rise. This will take about an hour depending on your temperature and humidity level.
- Divide up the dough and wrap the hot dogs. One recipe makes enough to either wrap around 10 large hot dogs or 15 small hot dogs.
- Final rise. Let the pretzel dogs rise for about 30 minutes and preheat your oven.
- Dip in lye. Follow the steps in the instruction card closely for safety tops when using lye.
- Sprinkle with salt and bake. And that's it. Dip your German pretzel hot dogs in mustard or make some Obatzda or my Beer Cheese Fondue as fun alternative dips!
The ingredients to make German-style pretzel dogs are few, but it's important to get the right kind of ingredients.
- Hot dogs. But make them REAL Wieners. The only TRULY authentic Wiener sausages I have had in the United States are from the German-style butcher Schaller & Weber. They have the perfect amount of bite and are simply EXACTLY like what you can find in Germany.
- Flour. I use all-purpose flour.
- Yeast. Active-dry yeast is what I use for all of my baking and I keep it airtight in the fridge to make it last longer.
- Brown Sugar. Just a bit to bring out the deeper flavor.
- Butter. It makes for a smooth, perfect pretzel dough.
- Lye. Lye is necessary to get the authentic German pretzel taste on your pretzel hot dogs!
- Pretzel Salt. A little sprinkle of pretzel salt goes a long way. Then use it again to make my authentic German pretzels or pretzel hot dog buns.
Pretzel hot dog variations
Use sausages other than Wieners or hot dogs for your pretzel brats. The Nürnberger bratwurst are small little links that are perfect for making pretzel dogs. You will use half as much dough as you will for the Wiener pretzel dogs, so you can make twice as many. I love these Nürnberger sausages by Schaller & Weber and they are my Opa's favorite sausage.
Experiment with the toppings (seeded pretzels are my favorite) or add cheese on top or around the hot dog.
And a few questions...
Who invented the hot dog?
There are a few theories as to who invented the hot dog. But the hot dog is of German origin. American hot dogs were possibly invented in New York by a German immigrant called Nathan Handwerker in 1916.
Others say hot dogs had deeper roots in Germany and were invented in Frankfurt. That's also where the alternative names Frankfurter or Franks came from. Except if you were to sell a sausage called Frankfurter in Germany, it would need to have been made in Frankfurt only.
But in Germany, Frankfurters aren't the only type of 'hot dog.' Wiener Würstchen or Wiener sausages are another popular name for a hot dog in America and Germany.
Whoever invented them, they are perfect to go inside a pretzel dog!
What's the difference between a Frankfurter and Wiener sausages?
The main difference is that Frankfurter sausages are made with pork meat, but Wiener sausages have a higher beef content.
Frankfurters have been around since medieval times, whereas Wiener sausages have only been invented in 1805 by a Frankfurt native living in Vienna.
I am using authentic Wiener sausages from NYC-based Schaller & Weber for my German pretzel hot dogs.
Why are hot dogs called hot dogs?
The most popular reason why hot dogs have their name is that Germans who immigrated to the USA also brought dachshund dogs (in German 'Dackel') with them. And since they also brought long sausages with them, the sausages started being called hot dogs.
German Pretzel Dogs
- 12 grams food-grade lye I am using a food-grade lye with a concentration of 100%. Your solution should have no more than 4% lye. You could also use baking soda instead of lye. See notes below.
- 300 milliliters water COLD water
- pretzel salt pretzel salt helps your pretzel dogs look super authentic. OR top them with seeds (my favorite) or even grated cheese.
- Stir together the luke warm (barely warm) water, brown sugar and yeast and allow to bubble up, this should take 5 minutes. If it's not getting bubbly, your water may have been too hot or your yeast is bad. You'll have to repeat this step.15 grams brown sugar, 7 grams active dry yeast, 275 milliliters water
- Sift together the flour and salt, and add in the butter and the bubbly yeast mixture. Knead the dough on the low setting for 8 to 10 minutes using the dough hook.500 grams all-purpose flour, 10 grams sea salt, 30 grams butter
- Cover the dough airtight and let it rest in a warm spot for about an hour.
- Shape the dough into a long, even thickness log and divide into 10 equal pieces. Let them cuddle against each other and cover them with wax paper (or a clean linen towel) to prevent a skin from developing on the surface of the dough.
- Shape each dough piece into a string that's around 2 times as long as your sausage. Then start twisting them around the hot dogs or Wieners, tucking the ends in, so they don't unravel.10 Wiener sausages
- Place on baking sheets covered with silicone baking mats, cover with a clean linen towel, and let them rest and develop for about 30 minutes.
- Prepare your lye solution in a well-ventilated area (like standing under a vent hood set to high or ideally being outside) because of potential fumes. I also recommend wearing a cloth or medical grade face mask and rubber gloves to be extra safe (luckily everyone should have these at home by now). Add the premeasured lye (it comes in dry granules) into COLD water, not the over way around. At this point, I like to step to the side for about 10 to 15 seconds to let potential fumes evaporate. Then carefully combine with a whisk until the solution is clear.Now dip the pretzel dogs using a steel skimmer (you could also use two forks) for 5 to 10 seconds each before transferring them using your skimmer onto a baking sheet covered a silicone baking mat (You could also use parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray, but I have found the baking mats work better in releasing the pretzel dogs after baking, so it may be time to invest in some).12 grams food-grade lye, 300 milliliters water
- Then sprinkle with the pretzel salt. You could also add shredded cheese or seeds onto the pretzel hot dogs instead of the pretzel salt (if adding seeds, I like to dip the pretzel in the seeds instead of sprinkling them on). Pumpkin seeds are my favorite seeds to add, but even an everything seed blend would be great!pretzel salt