How To Bake Homemade Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns.
Homemade hamburger and hot dog buns are simple to make and transform the most casual meal into a whole new treat.
Disclaimer: If you are already a bread baker, skip down to the recipe and bake up a batch of these homemade hamburger and hot dog buns. You already know how simple and delicious homemade bread is and I sincerely hope you will love this recipe as much as I do. If you are new to bread baking and don’t think you have the time, energy or skills for homemade bread – brace yourself because I am going to evangelize that thinking right out of you and convert you to a bread baking fool! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
My husband and I have a favorite burger joint that we head to every chance we get. The burgers are amazing. Like, conversation-halting, mid-blowingly delicious. It’s where our kids want to go for birthdays. It’s where we take international friends for a remarkable American meal. Our favorite burger includes a perfectly cooked beef patty, sautéed mushrooms, Emmenthaler cheese and white truffle aioli. It’s phenomenal. But even with all those 5-star ingredients, you know what really takes it over the top? The hamburger bun it’s served on. Of all the people we’ve taken to Highland Tap and Burger, the comment most common is, “Oh. This bread is sooooooo good!”
Who doesn’t love the simple, comforting casualness of an American cheeseburger, a hotdog, bratwurst or sausage piled with fixings, or sandwiches stuffed with our favorite meats, cheeses and vegetables? These are the types of foods we take for granted. The type of food that can be found on street corners and casual restaurants all over the world. They are the staples of backyard barbecues, sports games, and quick weeknight suppers. They can be both plain and exotic, and customized in every conceivable way. What’s not to love? And, while the contents nestled inside the bun are certainly important, the star ingredient is the bread.
Think about it.
When was the last time you had a really great sandwich that didn’t start with really great bread?
We all know that the best burgers and sandwiches include really good bread. And yet, when serving these causal staples at home, it’s something easy to overlook. You know how it goes… We host a backyard barbecue, proudly displaying perfectly grilled meats and a gourmet spread of high quality toppings to be stacked on stereotypical store-bought buns. Why do we do this? Probably because most of us don’t realize how truly simple and easy it is to make homemade bread.
Ok. Let me clarify: Homemade bread is really simple to make. It usually requires just a few ingredients, some mixing, kneading, shaping, rising and baking. It’s not rocket science. But, good bread does require a fair amount of kneading. Like, 10-20 minutes of kneading. And that’s where most people stop short. However, if you own a good quality standing mixer this is a non-issue because the mixer does it for you.
I LOVE my standing mixer. Years ago, when I discovered my obsession with baking, I didn’t have one. I baked all sorts of stuff anyway. Homemade bread, tortillas, cakes, cookies, whatever. But one day, my husband came home with a gift for me… my very first KtichenAid Standing Mixer. At the time, it was an amazingly extravagant gift. And I loved it so much. SO. MUCH.
There is something satisfying about hand kneading bread dough… I think. Actually, I don’t remember, because I haven’t hand kneaded bread dough since. Why would I? It doesn’t change the result, and while my mixer works away on the dough, I am free to do whatever else I want. (FREEEEEEEDOM!)
The thing about making bread is, you really can’t rush it, but you aren’t a slave to the process. (FREEEEEEEDOM!) There is a good amount of time involved – but almost all of it is hands off. (FREEEEEEEDOM!) You mix the dough and then leave it alone and let it rise. You shape the dough and then leave it alone and let it rise. You put it in the oven and then leave it alone and let it bake. Baking bread is easy to incorporate into your day. You can even control the process to better fit your schedule. For example, mix up the dough in the morning, put it in the refrigerator to rise all day, and take it out that evening to shape and bake. Or, as in the case of these overnight cinnamon rolls, make the dough at night and let it rise in the refrigerator overnight to bake the next morning. (FREEE… Ok. I’ll stop now.)
If you’ve never been the bread baking sort, this is the perfect recipe to try.
The difference between homemade hamburger and hot dog buns and the standard store bought variety is HUGE. It really does transform standard “normal” food into a whole new treat. Read: Instant satisfaction, and eternal praise and admiration from everyone you serve them to.
If you don’t have a standing mixer, bread baking is the perfect excuse to buy one. I’d highly recommend a professional grade, 6-quart size – both to accommodate the amount of dough and because all that kneading can wear down the motor of less hardy varieties. This is the one I use – I’ve had it for years, use it nearly every day, and bake bread at least two or three times a week.
If you don’t have a standing mixer, and don’t want to purchase one, hand kneading bread is really not a big deal. True, I don’t do it. But I used to and it’s not hard. It’s even kind of fun. (And cathartic if you need to take out some aggression.) Regardless, not having a standing mixer is not an excuse to not try your hand at homemade bread. You will probably feel even more smugly satisfied than the rest of us. As you should.
Finally – don’t be intimidated by the length of the instructions. I’m simply trying to give enough detail for success. Read through the instructions once, and then just dive in. You’ll be surprised by how easy it is to bake delicious homemade hamburger and hot dog buns! Happy Baking!
- 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup powdered milk
- 4 tbsp granulated sugar
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 1½ cups room temperature water (between 70-75 degrees)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 4 tbsp butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 egg whisked with 1 tsp water until frothy, for egg wash (optional)
- Sesame seeds or poppy seeds for garnish (optional)
- In the bowl of a standing mixer (or just in a large bowl), add both flours, powdered milk, sugar and yeast. Stir with a whisk to combine. Stir the egg into the water and pour into the flour. Fit your mixer with the dough hook and mix on low (speed level 2) just until the dough comes together in a shaggy mess - about 1 minute. (If you're not using a mixer, stir with a wooden spoon, or with your hands.) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for 20 minutes, or up to 1 hour, at room temperature.
- After this resting period, it's time to knead. With your mixer fitted with the dough hook, knead the dough on low (speed level 2) for at least 10 minutes, adding the melted butter bit by bit, alternating with the salt. With each addition of butter, the dough will come apart a bit - let it keep kneading until it comes back together in a cohesive ball before adding more. Sprinkling in a bit of the salt after each addition of butter, will help the dough come back together. (If kneading by hand, work the butter and salt into the dough with your hands until fully incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10-15 minutes. If you've never kneaded dough, here's a good tutorial.) Knead until the dough is soft, supple, and tacky but not sticky. If the dough feels dry - not tacky at all - after adding all the butter, add additional water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough is soft, smooth and tacky.
- Grease another large bowl with butter, oil, or non-stick spray. Turn the dough out into this bowl, cover with plastic wrap that's also been greased with butter, oil or non-stick spray, and let rise for 1½- 2½ hours, until doubled in size. (The length of time this takes will depend on the room temperature. If you want to lengthen the rise time to better accommodate your schedule, place the dough in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours, bringing it to room temperature before continuing with the recipe.)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. After the dough has doubled in size, remove the dough from the bowl to a flat work surface. Divide into 12 even pieces.
- TO SHAPE HAMBURGER BUNS: shape each piece of dough into a ball by stretching along the outside of the dough with your thumbs and pinching the dough together at the bottom. (This is a good video demonstration from one of my favorite bakers.) Space the balls out evenly on the baking sheet and press down with your palm to flatten into disks.
- TO SHAPE HOT DOG BUNS: Form each piece of dough into a ball, pinching the edges of the dough together to seal (see video link above). Roll on a flat surface into a torpedo shape and space evenly on baking sheets. If the dough shrinks up a bit as you lay each piece on the parchment covered baking sheets, just pull gently at each end to stretch back out.
- Loosely cover the dough with plastic wrap that's been greased with butter, oil or non-stick spray and let rise at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, until nearly doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. If desired, brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds. Bake the buns for 15-17 minutes, one sheet at a time, until they are golden brown and register 180 degrees on a digital cooking thermometer. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- Fresh bread is best the day it's made, but will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. These buns can also be frozen for up to 2 months - wrap individually in plastic wrap, place in a freezer ziplock bag.