I make my own hot dog buns.
I’ve had a couple friends tell me -in the most loving way possible- that I’m off my nut for making hot dog buns. “You can get them anywhere! You’re certifiable!”
Why in heaven’s name would I make hot dog buns when there are so many available to buy? The short answer is because I have never been able to buy a hot dog bun that holds a candle to these*.
*Every hot dog bun I’ve ever purchased has one or more of three massive problems; too soft, too stale, too crumbly. More often than not, that’s compounded with funky, nasty preservatives and ingredients that I try to avoid giving my family. (Hellooooo, High Fructose Corn Syrup. I’m looking at you.)
These buns are the be-all-and-end-all, the ne plus ultra, the Hot-Diggity-Dog of hot dog buns. They’re buttery. They have real flavour! They’re soft on the inside with a fine textured crumb, but they have a little chew to them. Unlike their styrofoam store-shelf cousins, my buns hold up to whatever toppings you want to load onto your hot dog. Wanna Matlock dog*? These are the buns for the job.
*Does referencing Matlock age me? I feel my hair turning blue just saying it. Seriously, though, Matlock knew how to eat a hot dog. Because he was a real man, right? Just as real as Opie Cunningham.
Just look at this. Can you imagine a store bought roll that comes close to being able to do this?
I promise you that this held all of those toppings when I hoisted this chili dog to my mouth. It held on clear through the ritual sopping up of the chili from the plate.
For the record: Those friends who thought I was bonkers do so no longer because they’ve all eaten my hot dog buns now. They are convinced.
So yeah. It takes a little longer to make your own buns than to buy them. I’m not a nincompoop, though. I use my time and effort where it makes the biggest difference. And here? It makes a world of difference here.
While it does take a little time, it’s not a difficult process. Before I get to the recipe, I want to show you how to form the rolls. If you already know how to do this, scroll to the bottom for the recipe. The key to making the best hot dog buns is to try to cut your dough into (roughly) equal-sized pieces before you begin forming it.
Each batch of dough makes fifteen standard sized buns or twelve large hoagie or Italian sausage style buns. I have a double batch here. You start by dividing each batch of dough into 3 pieces of equal size or weight. I’m partial to using my kitchen scale to ensure I’m breaking the dough down into close-to-equal sized pieces. Is this necessary? Not strictly, but it makes my little inner Obsessive Compulsive Chef sing for joy. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, or refuse to use one on moral grounds, just eyeball it and do your best to break them down equally. Gently form each piece into an oblong log.
Cut each of the logs into 5 equal pieces for standard sized hot dog buns or 4 equal pieces for Italian sausage or hoagie rolls. Working with one piece at a time, pat the dough into an oval. (You can see inches marked on the bottom of the dough mat I used.)
Use the edge of your hand to indent the dough down the length of the center of the dough.
Roll the dough around the indentation you created.
Lightly pinch together the seam.
Turn the dough seam side down and use the flats of your hands to roll it back and forth until it reaches about 6-inches in length. Tuck any funky shaped ends under so you have a tube of dough with flat ends.
After rising and before baking, brush the rolls generously with buttermilk. (Remember how easy it is to make your own?)
- 1¼ cups lukewarm milk
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature, cut into pieces
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 cups bread flour (You can substitute all-purpose flour if necessary.)
- 3 tablespoons instant potato flakes
- 1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (optional, but it improves the final texture.)
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons instant yeast
- ½ cup of cultured buttermilk, for brushing
- Put all ingredients except for the buttermilk in the pan. Program bread machine for the dough cycle and hit start.
- Put all ingredients except the buttermilk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix on low speed for 10 minutes, or until a smooth, elastic dough is formed. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours.
- Add all ingredients except for the buttermilk to a large mixing bowl. Use a sturdy wooden spoon or your hand to stir until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until a smooth, elastic dough forms, about 15 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1-2 hours.
- Lightly grease an 11-inch by 13-inch baking sheet or line with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside.
- Divide dough into 3 equally sized pieces and form into logs.
- Divide each log into 5 equal pieces for standard sized rolls or 4 equal pieces for larger Italian sausage or hoagie rolls.
- Working with one piece at a time, pat each piece out into an oval.
- Press an indentation down the length of the center of the oval with the side of your hand.
- Roll the dough up around the indentation.
- Pinch the seam together lightly.
- Roll the pieces gently seam side down until about 6-inches in length.
- Transfer to the lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between the pieces, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until puffy, about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Brush the puffy dough generously with buttermilk.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until deep golden brown.
- Cool the rolls on a rack for at least 10 minutes before slicing.
- Make a slice down the center of the top of the roll nearly through to the bottom. Gently pry open with your fingers to hold the hot dog or sausage.
- Lay the roll on its side and slice it in half about midway up the roll.
- Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to two days. They can be wrapped tightly and frozen for storage up to a month.