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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Incredibly awesome,easy-to-make,hot dog buns

The world has been industrialized for over a century now.  Most of us are convinced that many things we eat and use everyday "have" to be made in a factory.  Well, the truth is, most things we buy today, were once made in someone's home, basement, garage or kitchen.  Hot dog buns are one of those items.

The great thing about making your own is that you can customize the recipe.  If you can't do dairy, don't add any.  If you want whole wheat buns, use whole wheat flour.  If you want sprouted grains, then add some. If you don't want trans fats, use oil or butter.  Plus, the homemade ones taste awesome. Warning: you'll be spoiled.  You won't want to eat store bought buns again.

Whole wheat hot dog buns sell for a minimum of $2.75 for a package of 8, around here.  I can make a  batch of 12 buns for about 65 cents.  I use half right away and freeze the rest.

Here's my recipe for half whole wheat flour, half white flour buns.  You could also do just whole wheat flour.  We prefer the taste and texture of half and half.

Awesome Hot Dog Buns

1  1/2 cups lukewarm water
2 teaspoons dry yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1  1 /4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
butter or oil, for the tops after baking

In a large mixing bowl, combine water and yeast.  Add sugar and salt.  Allow to sit 4-5 minutes (so the yeast can begin to do it's thing).  Mix in oil and white flour.  Stir vigorously for a minute or two.  This helps the gluten to develop.  Add, and thoroughly combine, 2 cups whole wheat flour.

Turn dough out onto floured surface (the countertop, for bread making newbies).  Knead dough for 7-8 minutes.  (To knead dough, punch with one hand while simultaneously turning with the other.  It's not complicated and your technique does not need to be great to turn out awesome buns.)  Cover with a towel and set to rise for about an hour.  Punch down, cover and allow to rest while you grease a large baking sheet, with or without sides.

Divide dough into 4 parts.  Take each part, one at a time, and roll on counter with your hands (like you're making a clay snake), until about 15 inches long.  Cut into thirds, and roll just a bit more until each dough piece is almost 6 inches long.

Place the buns on the greased baking sheet about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart.  Cover with a towel and allow to rise until double in bulk, about an hour at room temperature (about 68-70 degrees F).  You'll know when they've risen enough when you can poke a finger in one slightly and the dent remains.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven, for 12-16 minutes.  (Your timing will vary according to whether or not your oven is convection, your baking sheet is insulated, and the overall accuracy of your oven.  So watch closely this first time.)

When they come out of the oven, spread the tops with a bit of butter, for a softer crust and amazing flavor.  Remove to a cooling rack. See, those were easy. Now go fire up the barbecue!

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