This fourth of July J and I decided to host a bbq at our house and I promised to keep our part simple. We’d provide grilled chicken sausages, a simple side and my favorite most amazing blueberry pie (seriously – make this) and everyone else would bring a side to share. Simple, right?
Until I saw an awesome post by Joy the Baker and just knew that I had to make her homemade hot dog buns for the festivities.
Things involving bread dough and yeast have always scared me, especially after my sourdough bread disaster a few years ago, so I don’t know why I decided to try again on the morning of a holiday. Thankfully, this recipe is easier than you think — you mix it all up, let rise, separate into your bun shapes, rise again and bake. You don’t need any fancy equipment — just a wooden spoon and a bowl — but you do need a little bit of time. Your reward for all the time (mostly just waiting for the dough the rise) is a beautifully golden hot dog bun that your friends will swoon for.
I’m posting the recipe here, but if you need to see photos of all the steps, check out Joy the Baker’s post which has really helpful step by step photos.
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 packets or 2 scant tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
2 cups warm milk (105°F to 115°F)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
6 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour*
egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
poppy seeds, coarse black pepper, and sea salt for topping (optional)
makes 18 buns
*Some notes on the flour from Joy: King Arthur Flour gives a fairly wide flour measurement variation for a couple of reasons. First, you’ll find in the summer that you’ll need a bit more flour to absorb a given amount of liquid than you will in the winter. This is because it’s humid and flour acts somewhat like a slightly dampened sponge as a result. I used 7 cups flour for my hot dog buns.
King Arthur Flour also notes that this particular dough should be quite slack, i.e., very relaxed in order to make soft and tender buns. So you want to add only enough more flour, past the 6-cup point, to make the dough just kneadable; sprinkling only enough more to keep it from sticking to you or the board.
1. Heat your water to the appropriate temp — use a thermometer to check the temp. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar and then the yeast in the warm water. Add the milk, oil, salt and 3 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
2. Gradually add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.
3. Knead the dough until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Because this dough is so slack, you may find that a bowl scraper or bench knife can be helpful in scooping up the dough and folding it over on itself.
4. Now it’s time to let the dough rise and rest. Put your dough in an oiled bowl. Turn once to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly-woven dampened towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour. See how big mine grew! Success!
5. Your dough is now ready to shape the into buns. Turn your dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Divide into 18 equal pieces. This is done most easily by dividing the dough first into thirds, then those thirds into halves, then the halves into thirds. Now roll the dough into hot dog cylinders, 4 1/2-inches in length. Flatten the cylinders slightly; dough rises more in the center so this will give a gently rounded top versus a high top.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly grease the parchment paper.
For soft-sided buns, place them on prepared baking sheets a half inch apart so they’ll grow together when they rise. For crisper buns, place them three inches apart.
6. Let the bun shaped dough rise a second time. Cover each baking sheet with buns with a dry towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Don’t use plastic wrap to cover the dough as it may stick and deflate the buns when the plastic is removed.
7. Time to bake! Preheat your oven to 400°F. Just before baking, lightly brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with whatever seeds strike your fancy — I used sesame seeds, poppy seeds and some sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F. (A dough thermometer takes the guesswork out of this.) Your buns are done when they are golden brown and sound hollow when you tap on them.
Move your hot buns to a wire rack to cool so that they don’t get soggy.