You can make these of course with frozen bread dough, Pillsbury crescent rolls or even biscuits but my family loves them THIS way instead.They are a favorite guests as well. I often make up a batch of fries and/or onion rings, some cole slaw and/or potato salad to serve with them. Don't be put off by the cook time.If you plan ahead, it doesn't take long to make up a batch of bread, set it to rise, set a timer to remind you to check it, and go on with your business. Then when it rings, only the time it takes to roll up the franks in the dough, and away you go! It really isn't hard!
1If your franks are frozen, make sure that they are thawed. Set aside.
2Place warm-almost hot water in a bowl, and sprinkle the yeast evenly over the top. Set aside in a warm place, but not hot!
3Prepare a large bowl with vegetable spray (I use butter flavored). Set aside. Prepare a work surface to knead the bread (if you have a board, w/wo a pastry cloth, great! I don't.) I use my counter top. I wash it thoroughly first, but there is no need to sterilize it; as most germs will be killed at baking temperature anyway.
4Place flour, sugar, gluten and salt in a separate large bowl, and whisk until all is fairly distributed. Cut up the butter into small pieces (about 1-1/2 tbs. pieces) Wash your hands.
5Pour yeast mixture into the flour mixture. Begin to work with your hands until mixture is sticking together in a large ball. There will be flour everywhere and it will be sticky dough. Turn out onto the floured work surface. Include the flour left on sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead by folding the top over the bottom and turning a quarter turn and doing the same. Keep going around (infusing the dough with air)for 10 minutes (yes all 10 minutes). You may need to add a little flour as you go, that is why we set aside that small portion of the flour. If you still need more, keep it to a minimum, just to keep the bread from sticking. When finished kneading, you will have a solid, smooth elastic ball of dough. Turn it smooth side down into the prepared bowl, and turn it right side up, exposing the greased side of the dough at the top.
6Cover with a clean dish cloth, plastic wrap, or paper towels. Set aside to rise for 90 minutes (set a timer). When your buzzer rings, punch the dough down in the center and divide it into two pieces. Take one piece, and create a smooth, uniform sized cylinder. Cut cylinder into 12 equal portions. Shape each cylinder how ever you please circles, rectangles, triangles for crescent style, bowknots, etc.) and enclose one frank in each.
7Set apart on a greased baking sheet. Repeat the procedure for the other half of the dough. Cover all pigs 'n' blankets with a clean towel, plastic wrap or paper towels. Allow to rise again in a warm place free of drafts-this time for 40 minutes. The dough should about double in size again.
8Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for about 25-30 minutes. Check periodically. My oven runs hot, so mine are usually done in about 20 minutes.
When you remove them from the oven, brush each roll with a light coating of butter. Best served warm, but they re-heat very well.
9We've made these with honey whole wheat bread, and they were still quite good, albeit a little heavier. Condiments are good (open 'em up and add) but we prefer them without.
Smaller versions of these using "little smokies" make excellent appetizers!