I made them because they are good.
I made them because these buns make the whole place smell like a bakery, even before they hit the oven.
I made them because I needed to have some great, soft, buttery bread.
I made them because, by some miracle, my Aunt D sent me a sampler of meat for Christmas.
I don’t know why she decided to gift me meat for Christmas, but I am so glad she did. The meat sampler came with some really awesome gourmet hot dogs. But… they are giant. I had sliced one in half lengthwise and placed each half on a regular store bought bun just to make the meat to bun ratio pleasurable.
Since I had these amazing hot dogs, I felt that I needed to make something special to showcase them. I guess I am an all-America girl and have always wanted hot dogs to be a respectable food. Now I had my chance.
I feel bad because I don’t know where I got the original recipe for the buns. It was seven or eight years ago while I was living in Corpus to go to college. I remember because the first year I didn’t have internet at my house and had to go to campus to check my email and surf the interwebs. Over the years, this recipe has changed and morphed and I am truly in love with it now. So I knew it would be perfect for the gourmet hot dogs.
Here are the ingredients:
1/4 cup warm milk
3/4 cup warm water
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 package active dry yeast
3 cups bread flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature, cubed
Just a warning: This dough is super sticky. If you have very little experience with baking, just be aware that this could get very messy. I am not trying to discourage you. I just want to let you know ahead of time, this dough will not feel like most other bread doughs, but that is how it is supposed to be. You didn’t do it wrong, it is just a sticky dough.
First, measure out you water and milk in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for about 30 seconds. My microwave gets super hot, yours may take a little longer. When your water/milk comes out of the microwave stick a thermometer in there. You are looking for less that 110 degrees. If you can’t keep your finger in the liquid for more than a few seconds, it is entirely too hot. If you get it too hot, just leave it on the counter and give it a stir every couple of minutes until it cools. The main goal is that you don’t kill your yeast.
Sometimes, if I am in a hurry I just microwave the water and subtract hot water and add cool water until it reaches the right temp, then add the milk. You can also heat it on the stove, it just takes longer. Whatever ruffles your skirt!
Add the sugar and the yeast to the warm milk and water. Stir until the yeast and sugar are mostly dissolved. Then set it aside to bloom.
Meanwhile, measure out your flour.
And the salt.
Stir these together with your fingers. The add the butter.
Use your fingers to smush the butter into the flour. Smush and smush until the mixture is crumbly with just little specs of butter distributed evenly throughout. Like that / up there / that picture / above.
Time to check back in with the yeast.
Now break the egg up and stir him in. I don’t know why I am calling the egg a ‘he’ and ‘him’. I guess because it came from a chicken and could have been a little chick. I think it is cute that a chick is a boy. I am a dork. Moving on.
Pour your liquid mixture into the flour/butter and stir it a couple of times to get the party started. Then pop your bowl into the mixer fitted with a dough hook, set it on a medium low speed and let it go for 8 – 10 minutes.
Cover the dough with a tea towel or plastic wrap and place it in a draft free place. I put mine in a warm oven. The oven is off, I’m not trying to cook the dough now. But here in Texas, the A/C runs pretty much year round. It is always pretty chilly inside. B likes it to feel like the North Pole inside, so I have grown accustomed to putting rising dough in the oven. We also don’t have a lot of counter space. By keeping th dough in the oven, I know it nothing tragic will happen to it.
Leave the dough to rise about an hour until it has doubled in size.
Now flour your counter liberally. I mean LIBERALLY!!
Let the newly formed buns rise one more time, 45 minutes to a hour, until the buns have doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400*
If you would like, you can brush your buns with an egg wash(1 egg + 1 Tablespoon water). Be super careful not to deflate the buns. I didn’t use an egg wash because I didn’t have an extra egg.
Bake your buns for 15 minutes, rotating half way through cooking time.