Once I started making all of our bread myself, I figured that I should likewise make our hamburger and hot dog buns. That’s a thing to do, right? It turned out to be more challenging than I thought. Some recipes had good flavor, but couldn’t stand up to the role of a bun to actually hold a piece of meat (this was particularly the case for hot dog buns). Some recipes worked for a specially made hot dog bun pan, but the flavor was less than stellar. But I wanted both: something that not only tasted good, but was soft enough to hold a burger, sandwich, brat, or hot dog.
Instead of looking through recipes specifically written for buns, then, my dad and I had the epiphany that maybe you could make good hamburger buns from his dinner roll recipe, since we knew that it tasted good and that it had a wonderfully soft texture. My experiment using that dough successfully for sandwich buns snowballed into me wanting to use that dough (and another dough I had successfully used for hamburger buns) for burger buns, free-form hot dog buns, and a hot dog bun pan.
Both recipes worked well as hamburger buns. I prefer a softer bun, so I would probably leave off the egg wash. If you like a crisper texture, by all means, egg wash away!
As for hot dog buns, I surprised myself that the free-form buns were my preference to the ones baked in the actual hot dog bun pan. My previous attempts taught me that the key to having a softer texture is to place the buns close enough on the pan so that they touch after rising. They can be pulled apart rather than–as happens with the hot dog bun pan–needing to be cut apart. The process of using the hot dog bun pan includes weighing down a cover while the dough has its second rise, which makes for a more dense dough. While that holds its shape as a bun, once you cut into it and try to put a brat or hot dog inside, it is more likely to simply split in two.
While somewhat surprised by my preference, I had been hoping to find a way to make hot dog buns without necessarily needing the specialty pan. What about you? Have you ever used a hot dog pan? Try these recipes and let us know what you think in the comments!
What you need:
To Prepare Dinner Roll Dough: Ingredients
To Prepare Onion Buns: Ingredients
- 1 c. water, lukewarm
- 2 T. butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 3 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/4 c. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- 1 T. instant yeast (not active dry yeast)
- 1 t. onion powder
- 1 egg for egg wash (burger buns only, optional)
- Electric mixer fitted with a dough hook
- spatula, measuring cups and spoons
- large bowl and kitchen towel
- 1-2 baking sheets OR hot dog bun pan
Time: 2 hours (15 minutes prep, 90 minutes rising-divided, 12-15 minutes baking)
Freezeable: Yes. Store in a sealed plastic freezer bag.
Serves: Makes 16 burger/sandwich buns OR 10 hot dog buns
Multiplying the recipe: Yes, it doubles easily.
Homemade Buns (Burger or Hot Dog Buns):
To prepare the Dinner Roll dough, follow these instructions. Follow below to form buns after the first rise completes.
To prepare the Onion dough: Measure all ingredients (except for the egg for egg wash) into the mixer bowl. Beat on medium-low until the dough is smooth, about 3 minutes. Lightly spray a large bowl, place dough in the bowl and cover it with a clean, dry kitchen towel. Let rise for 1 hour.
For Burger/Sandwich Buns:
Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, then slightly flatten it. Place on two greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl. After they have risen, brush the tops of the buns with egg wash.
Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 12-15 minutes, rotating pans halfway through. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- For Free-Form Hot Dog Buns:
Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a 4-inch log. Place on one greased baking sheet, 1/2 inch apart, so that when they rise they will touch. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
- For Buns in a Hot Dog Bun Pan:
Lightly grease the hot dog bun pan. Spread dough to evenly cover the pan. Place a greased baking sheet upside down on top of the pan and weigh it down. Let rise until the dough comes within 1/2 inch of the rim of the pan, 15-30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375F. Bake with the cover on for 12 minutes. Carefully remove the cover and bake for another 5-10 minutes, until buns are golden brown. Cool the buns in the pan, and then turn out onto a cutting board to divide. With the rounded side up, slice an opening in the buns 3/4 of the way through.