Hot dogs or hamburgers? That was the question I posed on Facebook last week, and the overwhelming majority picked burgers. While I'm definitely a burger girl too, once or twice every summer I get a major craving for a grilled hot dog, preferably served on a grilled bun and topped with ketchup and grilled onions :)
Is it weird that I can't think about hot dogs in the summer without my mind going straight to the Nathan's hot dog eating competition they televise every year on the 4th of July? We've watched it religiously the past few years because Shane is obsessed with it, but personally I just don't get it. I mean, I love food as much as anybody, but what is so enjoyable about stuffing your face with hot dogs as fast as you can? And they soak the buns in water so you know they're soggy - ewww! I guess I just don't understand the mentality of competitive eating...
We've been making homemade burger buns for years, and let me just be honest. They're SO much better than store-bought, it's not even close. Given that, I don't know why I waited so long to make homemade hot dog buns, but finally I checked it off my to-do list last week. And just like the burger rolls, these hot dog buns blew store-bought out of the water. They taste so light and buttery (even without any actual butter in the recipe) yet were hearty enough for the hot dogs and plenty of toppings!
As yeast recipes go, this one is really simple too, with minimal hands-on time. The buns also freeze well, so you can make a bunch of them when you have some time then just pull them out on demand when you're ready to grill. I promise they take any hot dog eating experience from really good to insanely awesome so it's well worth the few extra minutes of your time!
Homemade Hot Dog Buns
adapted from Annie's Eats (originally from King Arthur Flour)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110 F)
1 cup warm milk (about 110 F, I used whole)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for egg wash)
To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the sugar, yeast, water, milk, oil, salt, and 3 cups of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until a rough dough comes together. Start kneading with the dough hook. If necessary, you can add some (or all) of the remaining cup of flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and sticks only to the bottom. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. (I didn't need to use any additional flour beyond the 3 cups, but this will vary depending on the conditions in your kitchen.) Knead the dough on low speed for about 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Shape the dough into a ball and transfer to the prepared bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and divide it into 9 equal pieces (you can use a scale or estimate, your call). Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape it into a ball and then roll the ball into a cylinder measuring about 4 1/2-inches in length. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the cylinder slightly. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, placing them only about 1/2-inch apart on the baking sheet. Once they're all shaped, cover the buns with a towel and let rise until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 F. Brush the buns with the egg wash and then bake for about 18 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and an instant-read thermometer reads 190 F. Remove the buns from the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool completely.
Makes 9 buns