What’s Cookin’ – Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns

I have used up two bags of flour and the better part of a jar of yeast experimenting with making homemade hamburger and hot dog buns.


I had a friend when I lived in Boston who always made them, and they were good.  Another friend posted about always having homemade buns growing up.  We were hosting a BBQ for my nephew and his girlfriend, and it seemed like a good time to try making them.

At this point, I have made 6 (or 7 or 8, but who’s counting?) batches of buns.  It took awhile until I was satisfied with the results.  We ate some at our party, and I’ve given some away to neighbors and friends.

I tried re-working an old recipe from The Fannie Farmer Baking Book © 1984 (now out of print).  The original recipe used lard (which I tried in one batch), and did not provide for using a stand mixer (which I adjusted for).  I also made a batch with shortening.  The density and flavor of the buns was good.

I also tried the recipe on the King Arthur Flour website.  It was the simplest recipe in terms of steps and ingredients.  And it used butter rather than lard or shortening.

It’s not really the dough that was the problem.

It’s shaping the dough into the right size so that the resulting bun is not too big and not too small.

These were too big.

These were too small.

After it was all said and done, I decided that the King Arthur flour recipe was the best.  The Fanny Farmer recipe resulted in a nice, dense bun that held up well to a burger or hot dog with fixin’s, but the slightly softer version produced by the King Arthur recipe is one that I think most people would prefer.

You can find the original recipe here.  King Arthur also included a nice step-by-step here with some really nice tips and hints.

I really liked the tip about putting the dough to rise in a large glass measuring container so that you can see, at a glance, exactly when it has doubled.  I did that, and I’ll probably do that in the future with other yeast doughs just because I think it’s a neat hint.  I also liked the tip about weighing the dough balls to ensure that they are all exactly the same size.  I did not do that, and my buns will be forever imperfect as a result.  Just like me.  Sigh.

For my last attempt, I opted to make a single batch of the King Arthur recipe (mainly because it used the last of my flour and yeast) and to form 6 pieces into hamburger buns and 6 pieces into hot dog buns.  One thing that I learned in this process is that the dough does not rise OUT so much as it rises UP.  So you want the actual round or oblong shape to be roughly the size you need in the end.

Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns ingredients – nothing fancy.

Note that I did not use a recipe calling for potato flakes which are popular.  That is because I just do not like the flavor of breads and buns made with potatoes.

This recipe is so simple.  There aren’t a series of steps to combine the ingredients.  Basically, just dump them all into the bowl of your stand mixer, combine, and knead.  Plop the dough into a greased bowl to rise.

Here is the dough after about an hour.  It has doubled in size as you can easily tell by the measurements on my large glass bowl.

Instead of weighting and dividing into perfectly equal size pieces, I just eyeballed it.

No, they are not perfectly sized, but then again, neither am I.

Roll into smooth balls and shape.  Remember you want roughly the size around and long as you will need in the end as most of the rising of the dough will be UP not OUT.

Cover and allow to rise for another hour.

Preheat your oven to 375° F, and brush your buns with a little melted butter.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.  The original link provides alternatives such as brushing with egg and dusting with seeds if you are into that sort of thing.

After they are baked, brush them with again with a little melted butter.  Remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These turned out to be the perfect size.  Both the dough and the baked buns can be frozen so you can have some ready whenever you want to grill some burgers and dogs this Summer!


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