Pigs in a Blanket

From Nelson’s Kitchen
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For the dough, I use the recipe for the “Best American Dinner Rolls" from Cook’s Illustrated. For a dairy-free version replace the milk for almond milk and the butter for baking margarine. This recipe is very convenient for a party or celebration, because the dough is prepared and the pigs in a blanket are formed up to two days before baking and serving. They must be removed from the refrigerator and put to rise in a cool room temperature 6 to 7 hours before baking.

Ingredients:
 
Procedure:
 
  1. Make the dough base
    • Bring milk to boil in small saucepan over medium heat; let stand off heat until skin forms on surface, 3 to 5 minutes. Using soup spoon, skim skin off surface and discard.
    • Transfer milk to bowl of standing mixer and add 6 tablespoons melted butter, sugar, and salt.
    • Whisk to combine and let mixture cool.
    • When mixture is just warm to the touch (90 to 100 F degrees), whisk in eggs and yeast until combined.
  2. Add the flour
    • Add flour to the bowl; using dough hook, mix on low speed on standing mixer until combined, 1 to 2 minutes.
    • Increase speed to medium-low and knead about 3 minutes more; when pressed with finger, dough should feel tacky and moist but should not stick to finger. (If dough is sticky, add another 1 to 3 tablespoons flour.)
    • Continue to knead on medium-low until cohesive, elastic dough has formed (it should clear sides of bowl but stick to bottom), 4 to 5 minutes longer.
  3. Knead the dough
    • Transfer dough to lightly floured work surface.
    • Knead dough by hand 1 to 2 minutes to ensure that it is well kneaded. Dough should be very soft and moist but not overly sticky. (If dough sticks excessively to hands and work surface, knead in flour a tablespoon at a time until dough is workable.)
    • Lightly spray medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
    • Transfer dough to bowl.
    • Lightly coat surface of dough with cooking spray and cover with plastic wrap.
    • Let dough rise in warm, draft-free location until doubled in volume, 2 to 3 hours.
  4. Prepare baking sheets
    • Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray.
    • Put two tablespoon of flour in a small strainer and use it to dust the baking sheet. Then bang the baking sheet on the counter several times until it is evenly coated with the flour.
    • Pour any excessive flour into the sink.
  5. Shape the pigs
    • Roll the dough into a 18 in x 24 in rectangular shape. Trim the edges to make them straight.
    • Cut hot dogs into thirds. Jumbo hot dogs are 6 1/2 in long. Thus each third will measure 2 1/8 in.
    • Using a piece of hot dog as a guide, make several small slits to mark a strip of dough that is wide enough to roll the hot-dog pieces with enough left in the ends to enclose complitely.
    • Using the slits as guide cut the strips.
    • Roll each hot dog cutting the dough strip to make a closed seam.
    • Press along the seam and place seam-side down on the prepared trays.
  6. Refrigerate for a day or two
    • Cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap lightly coated with cooking spray.
    • Cover the pans securely with foil.
    • Refrigerate at least 24 or up to 48 hours.
  7. Let the pigs raise
    • Remove foil (but not plastic wrap) from baking pans.
    • Let pigs rise in draft-free cool room-temperature location until doubled in volume, 6 to 7 hours.
    • When pigs are nearly doubled in volume, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 400 F.
  8. Bake the pigs
    • Remove plastic wrap.
    • Brush the pigs with 2 tablespoons of melted butter;
    • Bake until deep golden brown, 14 to 18 minutes. Rotate pans halfway through to ensure even baking.
    • Slightly cool pigs in the pans on wire rack about 3 minutes.
    • Move the pigs to a rack and cool for 10 to 15 minutes longer.
    • Serve warm.


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