Being used to fresh, fragrant, flavorful whole wheat bread, hotdog buns from the store are something I tolerate but don't like.  (White, squishy, pasty stuff.  And if it ever gets wet... OK, I'll stop now.)

Making your own hot dog buns - or hamburger buns- is very simple.  You can make a bunch at once, cool and slice them, then put them in a bag in the freezer to use later.  They are delicious!

Homemade Hotdog Buns

Start with any bread dough, this time I used buttermilk-honey whole wheat.  Pinch off about 2 oz. dough, a little bigger than a golf ball but a little smaller than a racquetball.   Roll one under your hand on the countertop until it’s the length of a hotdog. Place about 1” apart on a greased baking sheet.  Let rise until nearly double, brush with a little beaten egg if you want deeper color and some and then bake about 15 minutes at 375 until bottoms are golden brown.  See slideshow below.    Two pounds of dough will make 16 buns; my 2-loaf recipe will make about 24 buns.    You can fit 16-20 buns on one 12x18 baking sheet.  You could  fit more, but they'll be so squished they'll only rise UP, and not spread like you need.

Faster rising & baking:

Turn your oven into a proofing box!  Move the rack inside to the next notch higher.  Turn oven to 375, let it heat for ONLY 1-2 minutes.  Turn off the heat, pour a half cup of water on the oven floor (DON’T pour it on the element!) and put your shaped dough in.  Let rise in the warm, steamy oven for 20 minutes.  Turn the oven back on to 375 – leave the tray in this time- and set the timer for 20 minutes.  The oven preheating will accelerate the buns’ rising and increase ‘oven spring’, as long as you had steam in there so the buns’ crust doesn’t set too soon.  You’re baking them here, too.    The tops won’t brown on their own this way, with most the heat coming from the lower element, so when you have 2 minutes left  (from the 20), turn the oven off, turn the broiler to high, and let the buns stay there, under the broiler, for that last 1 ½- 2 minutes.  They’ll brown.  Unevenly.  But they'll brown.

Pull out and brush the tops with butter or oil.


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