WENDY’S PRETZEL BACON CHEESEBURGER

Wendy’s profits were on a roll after the summer 2013 introduction of the “pub-style” bacon cheeseburger, which was served on the first pretzel bun in fast-food history. The dense, chewy pretzel bun is the main attraction, but the delicious combination of sliced cheddar cheese, honey mustard sauce, cheese sauce, thick-sliced bacon, and spring lettuce greens makes this a burger unlike any you’ll find at other fast-food chains. The Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger is Wendy’s most successful product launch in the last eleven years, and now you can make a great copy in the comfort of your own HQ from scratch, including a perfect pretzel bun! This recipe will make four burgers, so you’ll have a couple of buns left over for other sandwich creations since the recipe here makes a total of six fresh pretzel buns.

PRETZEL BUNS
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1¼ cups warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
1 pkg. (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
16 ounces (3 cups) bread flour
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons baking soda
4 cups water

HONEY MUSTARD SAUCE
¼ cup mayonnaise
4 teaspoons Grey Poupon Country Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons honey
1½ teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard
¼ teaspoon paprika
⅛ teaspoon liquid smoke

1 pound ground beef
Salt
Ground black pepper
4 deli-style cheddar cheese slices
2 tablespoons Cheez Whiz, warmed
6 slices cooked thick-sliced bacon (applewood-smoked is best)
2 cups spring mix lettuce greens
4 large tomato slices (or 8 medium-size slices)
2 red onion slices, separated into rings


Cooking method

1-Make the pretzel buns by dissolving the sugar into the warm water in a medium bowl. Add the yeast and stir to dissolve. Let the yeast sit for about 5 minutes or until a foam forms on top of the solution.

2-Stir the salt into the flour in a large mixing bowl, then pour in the yeast solution and oil. Use a kneading hook on a stand mixer or mix by hand until the dough forms into a ball. Knead for 10 minutes, either with the dough hook or by hand until the dough is smooth, without any lumps. Let the dough sit in a bowl, covered with a towel, in a warm spot for 1 hour or until doubled in size. When the dough has doubled, punch it down and form 6 4-ounce balls of dough. Press them down onto a nonstick or silicone mat–lined baking sheet until 4 inches in diameter and let them rise for another 15 minutes.

3-Preheat your conventional oven to 400 degrees F (or 375 degrees F for a convection oven).

4-Combine the baking soda with the 4 cups of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

5-When the baking soda solution begins to bubble, drop one bun at a time into the solution. Use a large spoon or spider to flip the bun over after 20 seconds and let it sit in the solution for another 20 seconds. Remove the bun from the solution with the spider, allowing the excess liquid to drip off, and place it on the baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining buns. Before placing the buns in the oven, use a very sharp knife with an oiled blade to score an “X” that is about ½ inch deep in the top of each bun. Wipe the blade of the knife clean after each slice. Bake the buns for 12 to 15 minutes or until dark brown. Cool.

6-Make the honey mustard sauce by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl.

7-Form the ground beef into 4 square patties that measure approximately 4 inches across.

8-Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Slice 4 of the pretzel buns in half and brown the faces of those buns in the hot skillet.

9-Cook the ground beef patties in the skillet for 2 to 3 minutes per side or until done. Lightly salt and pepper each of the beef patties as they cook.

10-Build each hamburger by placing a slice of cheddar cheese on the bottom bun, then stack a beef patty on top of the cheese. Spread about 1½ teaspoons of honey mustard sauce on the beef patty, followed by 1½ teaspoons of warmed Cheez Whiz.

11-Break the cooked bacon slices in half and arrange 3 halves side by side on the patty. Add a handful of lettuce greens on top of the bacon, followed by a tomato slice (or 2 slices if your tomatoes are smaller) and 2 rings of red onion. Top off the burger with the top bun and serve immediately.

12-(OPTIONAL) You may want to warm up the pretzel buns by zapping the burgers in your microwave for 15 to 20 seconds before serving.

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