Friday, July 5, 2013

Homemade Hot Dog Buns

I hate hot dogs. Unless I am at a baseball game, I am never tempted to eat one. Even as a little kid, I would wrinkle my nose when I heard that hot dogs were on the menu. However, I always was a fan of the hot dog buns. I remember being at a friend's house when I was nine years old and her mother asked how many hot dogs I wanted for dinner. I replied: "No hot dogs, please...but can I have two buns?" She brought me two hot dog buns and I filled them with relish, ketchup, and mustard and just ate them up! Disgusting, I know. But what can I say? love of carbohydrates in all forms began early.

Anyway, hot dog buns are extremely inexpensive and readily available in every grocery store. So why the heck would you ever want to make them yourself? That's what I always thought until the other day when we were planning on having grilled bratwursts (those are fine!) for dinner and I really did not feel like packing up the children and heading to the grocery store just to pick up a package of hot dog buns (I was feeling a bit lazy). So, seeing as I had flour, I decided to make them myself. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Start to finish, the buns took just a little over 2 hours to make. Emma happily enjoyed some tummy time while I whipped up the dough in the stand-mixer. After five minutes of mixing and kneading, the dough was ready to rise. In the hour it took the dough to double in size, I fed Matthew and Emma their lunch and then put them both down for naps. The dough is then shaped into 9 hot dog-sized cylinders and allowed to rise for an additional 45 minutes. Brush with an egg wash, bake for 15-18 minutes, and you are done!

She will probably grow up to love hot dogs as much as her older brother.
The result? Of course they tasted a lot better than the store-bought buns. They had a wonderful buttery taste even though there is not a single ounce of butter in the recipe. They also were a lot sturdier, which means you could pile on the toppings without worrying about the bun disintegrating in the process. The recipe was easy enough to make, especially if you are planning on hanging around the house anyway. However, if we are having a bunch of people over for a barbecue, I would still probably resort to the store-bought buns. Convenience!

Homemade Hot Dog Buns
adapted from King Arthur Flour

For the dough:
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup warm milk (110 degrees)
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil

For the egg wash:
1 egg
1 tablespoon water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, whisk together 3 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Combine the water, milk, egg and oil in a measuring cup and, with the mixer running on low, slowly add the liquid ingredients. When everything comes together, begin kneading on medium speed. If the dough still sticks to the sides, add flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it only sticks to the bottom (it should be tacky,but not too sticky). Continue kneading for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly tacky.

Spray a bowl with cooking spray. Form the dough into a rough ball, place in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover the bowl and set aside to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 9 equal size pieces (I used a kitchen scale because I felt like being ridiculous about this) and shape each piece into a ball. Using your hands, roll each ball into a cylinder, roughly 4 1/2 to 5 inches in length. Place each cylinder on the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 1/2 inch apart. Once all the dough has been shaped, spray a piece of plastic with cooking spray and loosely cover the baking sheet. Let rise until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Beat together 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water for the egg wash.

When the buns have nearly doubled, uncover and brush with the egg wash. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown and an instant read thermometer inserted into the center reads 190 degrees. Remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

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