With the grilling season upon us, I thought I’d share this recipe, adapted from the Gourmet magazine. You might ask why trouble yourself with making such commonly-available thing as a hotdog bun, but you’ll understand it once you try this recipe. It makes truly outstanding buns – soft, tender, delicious. Yes, there’s cream in the dough (which contributes to the buns’ amazing texture), but divided between all buns, there’s not as crazy-much cholesterol. And anyway, hotdogs were never quite a diet food, weren’t they?
If you have a bread maker, you can just dump everything there to make the dough. I admit, I do use my bread machine for dough-making purposes once in a while, when I hurry while multitasking and need to have the dough ready at a certain moment.
Makes 16 hot dog buns or 24 miniature burger buns (well, I like making them small and stuff with little grilled chicken or turkey burgers, kids love them; but you sure can make the buns bigger, just bake longer in this case)
- ¼ cup warm water
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 1 ¼ cup warm milk
- 1 cup warm heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 tsp salt
For the burger buns:
- 1 egg + 1 tbsp milk or water, whisked together for egg wash
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds
If using a bread-maker, simply put everything (except the egg and sesame) in the machine according to the manufacturer’s direction, set the “Dough” cycle.
If using a stand mixer, combine the warm water and yeast in the mixer bowl, cover and let stand in a warm place until foamy, about 5 minutes. If there’s no activity in the bowl, buy fresh yeast and start all over.
Add the warm milk and cream, sugar, flour, and salt to the yeast mixture, stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Attach the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and knead on medium speed for 6 minutes. The dough will be sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover and let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled, about 2 hrs.
To make the hot dog buns:
Brush a 13×18 baking jelly-roll pan with oil.
Punch the dough down and divide into 16 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, shape each piece of dough into a 6-inch-long log (I form them as I’d do a baguette, only without tapered ends). Space the logs evenly in the pan, placing them in two parallel rows, 8 buns in each row.
Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in the warm place until buns start to touch, 1 ½-2 hrs.
Meanwhile, center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F.
Carefully remove the plastic wrap from the buns. Bake the buns until the tops are golden and undersides are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped, 28 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Before using, pull the buns apart, cut lengthwise down center of each, but not all the way through.
To make the mini burger buns:
Brush with oil two 13×18” jelly-roll pans.
Punch the dough down and divide into 24 equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a tight ball, and then flatten each ball slightly with a palm of your hand. Space the buns equally on the prepared baking sheets (12 buns on each sheet). Once you filled the first baking sheet, cover the buns with oiled plastic wrap and place them in the warm place to rise, for about 1 to 1½ hrs. Keep shaping the remaining buns, then let them rise as well.
Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 375F.
Carefully remove the plastic from the buns, brush their tops with the egg wash, and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake the buns in batches, until the tops are golden and undersides are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped, about 23 minutes. Transfer the buns to the cooling rack to cool.
The buns are the best the day they are made, but they can be frozen in sealable bags up to 2 weeks. Just freeze them fresh, as soon as they are cool.