Hot Dog Rolls (1)

Christmas will be very different for everyone this year. We've had to cancel the villa in Mustique and have had to let the staff go....Yep - just joking! However, with good fortune and a fair wind, we will be able to gather as three families, if only for a few days over the festive season. 

Lunches on the run up to Christmas seem to follow our family traditions and there's always room for the hot dog brunch. 

Whether you use Bockwurst, Frankfurters, Vienna or even butcher's sausage, there's always lashings of mayonnaise on hand, along with various sauces, mustards and, of course, Prymat roasted onions - cebulka - (available from Tesco) - a Polish delicacy without which hot dogs would be seriously lacking, 

The important decision is what to wrap around your sausage of choice. 

There's a verse from 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' from the old days when the compere was Humphrey Lyttleton and the 'lovely Samantha' sat on Humph's right hand and bore the brunts of double entendre and sexual innuendo. The verse goes, 'If you've left your teeth at home, suck a sausage sandwich at the Gastronome'. There seems to be no trace of this on the worldwide web but it remains strong in my memory and has always been a faithful guide when judging the merits of the hot dog roll...

There'a nothing better than one of those soft, yielding rolls that are favoured by the street hot dog sellers or ones that you head for if you see them on offer at barbecues or as an accompaniment to a roaring outdoor fire.  

The sausage sits in one perfectly, the sauces can be decoratively added on the top  in swirls and loops - and they're absolutely fine served wrapped in a piece of kitchen roll. 

We may do the same if the weather holds - light the fire and sit around it with mulled wine and hot dogs and sing....well, everything but the singing....

Alternatively, I'm sure they'll feature in a brunch when everybody just needs something tasty and filling with which to be getting along. 

Frankfurter Würstchen originated in Germany back in the 13th century, so we own them a good deal of respect for their longevity. Not only that, but the humble hot dog sausage as we know it today started life as a royal food enjoyed at the coronation of Maximillian II, the Holy Roman Emperor back in 1562. The thought of all those courtiers and royal personages standing around in their finery grasping a hot sausage paints an interesting picture. 

It wasn't until 1880 that the hot dog bun arrived on the scene. Allegedly, credit should be given to Mrs Feuchtwanger, the wife of a German immigrant to the United States who suggested the addition of 'the bun'. Her husband sold the hot sausage on the streets of St. Louis, lending gloves to customers to save them burning their fingers. So many pairs of gloves went missing that she proposed the use of a bread bun. Eminently cheaper than gloves and you could charge for the bread as well. 

However, this might be something of a red herring....other alleged origins of the bun date to the World Fairs in Chicago in 1893 and in St Louis in 1904. However, in all three versions, the bun has the same function - to replace expensive gloves that were either not returned or kept as souvenirs. 

By the 20th century, the 'Coney island Red Hots' closely resembled the hot dogs of today. 

So why 'hot dogs'? Well, in early 20th century Germany, the consumption of dog meat was not uncommon. There were accusations that dog meat was mixed in with pork meat when making sausages. In fact, it was often classed as being something of a necessity given the state of the economy at the time. 

I love the smoky taste of a bockwurst. I tend to try and not think about the fact that they are often made using mechanically separated meat, what is known as 'pink slime' and meat slurry. Cheaper versions often contain mechanically-separated poultry: chicken and turkey. If all this totally appals you (and I know one person in the other room who will involuntarily gag when she reads this), then more wholesome butcher's sausage might be the answer.  

But, our business today lies not with the sausage but with the bun. If you've ever visited Austria, Poland or any of the other Eastern European countries, you'll have seen that they take a section of a baguette and push it down on a spike so forming a hole throughout the length of the bread. The sausage is then inserted to form the end product. In Scandinavian countries, this is referred to as the French Hot Dog, acknowledging the presence of the baguette

In the United States and in the United Kingdom, the hot dog sausage is combined with a 'top or side loading' bun - known as the New England-style hot dog bun. These were invented in the 1940s by the Harold Johnson hotel group who wanted a bun for their fried clam strip sandwich. 

By now, you'll be losing the will to live, so I'll cut to the chase. 

If you want to use a baguette for your hot dogs, and enjoy the French Hot Dog,  then I suggest you read and shorten your baguette into a batard to meet the length of your sausage(s).

If you want to create something that more closely resembles the American / UK style side or top loading bun then follow this route.

However, before we start. I'm free-forming the buns as I'm presuming that not everyone owns a hot dog mould, like this:

Hot Dog bun mould - approximately 40 x 30 cms - it'll cost you approxinately £10
(imported from China via Ebay)

They're made from silicone and help to keep the shape of the bun. 

If you don't have a mould, then, if you want, you can place the rolls close together on a baking pan - that way, they will 'touch' and give you the soft sides that are characteristic of this type of bread. 

But, we'll get to that in due course. 

Hot dog bun dough varies from a typical brioche dough that is enriched with eggs, whole milk and butter to something more resembling a usual soft white dough.

I'm not a great fan of very sweet, brioche-style dough with meat, so this is 'toned down' a little but still delivers a fine bun for your hot dog of choice. 


This is for 8 hot dog buns. Remember, they freeze really well. 

548 gms of strong white bread flour
375 gms of milk
50 gms of sugar
45 mls olive oil
7 gms of sea salt
8 gms active dry yeast

Step 1
(Hand mixing)
Combine the flour, sugar and salt
Add the wet ingredients - oil and milk -  to the dry and then add the yeast. Mix well. 
Bring the mix to a floured board and work it until a dough forms.
Knead for a further 5 minutes until the dough is shiny. 
Move on to Step 2

Step 1
(Machine mixing)
Place all the ingredients into the pan adding the yeast last. 
Choose a basic dough programme. 
Move on to Step 2

Step 2
Lightly oil the surface of the dough.
Lightly oil a large bowl and place the dough in it. 
Cover the bowl with cling film and place somewhere warm at 22 - 24 degrees C for 60 minutes or until doubled in size. 

Weigh your dough and divide into 8 equal portions. 

My dough weighed in at 1030 gms making each of the 8 portions approximately 128 gms. 

Take each portion and, on a lightly-floured board, roll each portion into an oblong / oval shape. About 8 inches long will be long enough for most 'dogs'

Fold the dough into half and then fold it into half again. The seam becomes the bottom of the bun. 

Tuck the top and the bottom underneath and give it a few pats to form a suitable shape. 

Place the buns on a baking tray lined with parchment paper or silicone. 

Cover with parchment paper and place back in the warm place for 40 - 60 minutes until they're doubled in size. 

My 'warm place' - on top of the hot water tank.
Remember to cover the rolls over with a sheet of parchment paper. 

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C and place the tray in the lower half of the oven for abut 20 minutes. 

They should be golden in colour and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. 

Cool on a rack

Happy hot dogs....

Happy baking.....


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