We are officially in ‘Last Meal’ territory.
You know that weird question people ask you… ‘What would you choose to eat as your last meal?’. Geeeez what a daunting question! People ask it so frivolously. When asked this question (and I’m asked this question with weird frequency) this dialogue runs through my head:
You know that’s actually going to happen right!? We’re actually all going to have a last meal, because we’re all going to die. I think you want me to talk about chocolate chip cookies right now, or prime rib, or I don’t know… but all I’m thinking about now is my own mortality and all the ridiculous things I have to ask God forgiveness for. And now I’m thinking about your mortality… how do you like that? And now I’m thinking about my cat’s mortality and really, I think that’s a rude thing for your to make me think of. Why would you do that? I thought we were friends.
It’s complicated in this brain. Too real.
Hot dogs would totally be my last meal. But …since it’s my last meal, these hot dogs must be exactly perfect.
All-natural. All-beef. Totes grass-fed. Majorly organic. Homemade Poppy Seed Bun(!!!). Hot dog charred to a crisp. Like really really charred. Topped with ketchup. Topped with whole grain mustard. Dotted with hot sauce. Loaded with sauerkraut. Three hot dogs, please. One big bag of potato chips. Two root beers with lots of ice. Crushed ice. Some privacy. Don’t worry about it. It’s cool.
I’ve been meaning to make Homemade Hot Dog Buns for exactly one year. I’m really good at procrastinating…
Let’s get this show on the road!
Hot dog buns are made from a yeasted dough. For this reason they require time, patience, and courage. We’ve got loads of all three, don’t we?
This dough comes together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. No mixer or dough hook required.
That also means that we have no excuses.
This dough is brought together a little at a time. Here we have two cups of yeasty milk mixed with three cups of all-purpose flour.
It’s soupy but we’re on our way.
Flour is added a half cup at a time.
We’re getting there. We’re trusting the process.
This is cup six of six and one half. Almost there!
Hashtag: math. Hashtag: not really.
My dough was shaggy and lax. It’s a mellow dough. Still wet and sticky, and doesn’t want to hold its shape. Perfect!
A moist dough will result in tender buns. We want tender buns.
Our mellow dough can be kneaded with a bench scraper. It’s folded and kneaded until it comes together.
The dough should come together into a big ol’ loose dough. Technical term.
Time for oiling, resting and rising.
This dough rests until double in size.
Big body dough.
It’s time for the shaping!
We’re going to divide the dough into eighteen pieces.
First though, we’re going to divide the dough into six pieces. Baby steps.
Eighteen mostly-even/ kinda-not-that-even/ totally-fine/ it’s-cool Pieces.
Four and a half inches long. That’s what we’re going for.
Hot dog dough gets all cozy on a tray and ready for its second rise.
It’s really important not to futz with the dough too much during and after its second rise. You don’t want to deflate the precious rise you’ve created. A tender hand and a light kitchen towel to cover the dough will do.
Dough is brushed with beaten egg and sprinkled generously with poppy seeds, sea salt, and coarse black pepper.
They sound hollow when tapped. That’s how you know they’re done.
Consider these homemade hot dog buns your summertime bragging rights. Yea! They’re that good.
This yeasted dough is pretty forgiving, but to get the best results, try not to over-proof the dough and don’t get too touchy with it after the dough is shaped. It’s an exercise in letting it be.
Happy Summer! I hope it’s sunny and delicious.
Homemade Hot Dog Buns
recipe from King Arthur Flour
makes 18 buns
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)
*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 6 1/2 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.
To mix the dough: 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.
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.
To Knead the dough: Knead 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.
To rest and rise the dough: Put the dough into 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.
To shape the buns: Turn the 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.
Roll the dough into 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.
Second Rising: Cover with a towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Just drape a towel over the buns for the second rose, a piece of plastic wrap may stick and deflate the buns when the plastic is removed.
To Bake: Fifteen minutes before you want to bake your buns, 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.
Bake for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature of the bread reaches 190°F. (A dough thermometer takes the guesswork out of this.)
When the buns are done, remove them from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.