The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Recreating a hotdog, sorta

futureproof's picture

Recreating a hotdog, sorta

I know, I nearly put this under Special Needs but let me explain:

I have an artisanal bakery in Port Hawkesbury, which is on Cape Breton island in Nova Scotia, Canada, which becomes important in a few sentences time.

I also have a farm just outside said town on said island in said province etc etc. I'm currently raising sheep, as I put all seven of our rarebreed pigs in the freezer this summer, too dangerous to have them around at lambing tme you see.

Now then, my bakery & cafe are doing quite well, and I know, I really really KNOW, that I should have said 'no, thanks, I'll pass on this opportunity' when the contract to run the canteen in the arena came up. But I can't, just can't, pass up on any opportunity.

You see there's 3400 people in this town, and we probably get a couple of hundred or so through the bakery in a week. That's a lot of potential out there, a lot of people still eating supermarket bread, needing to be enlightened.

Now the important bit I told you to look out for is this is in Canada, and Canada in the winter means Ice Hockey, and this arena I mentioned with the canteen... is an ice hockey arena.

So my problem is that my bakery/cafe sells organic, artisanal, European-style breads by the loaf or folded loving around some local farmers ingredients in very eco-friendly packaging. I'm reliably informed that people who go watch sports thingies eat fries and hot dogs.

I was just lying here doing some blue sky thinking when it occurred to me that I have seven pigs in the freezer and a bakery. Why couldn't I do my own version of the hotdog? A Banger in a Bun if you will, sneak the good stuff in without the bloodthirsty mob even realising it.

I know hotdogs are disgusting and mainly made out of the bits of chicken that would only be edible if they pressed the stripped carcas through a mesh sieve with about 5000lbs of pressure and the buns are designed to sit on a shelf for a halflife or two before conveying the 'hot dog' into the mouth of somebody who's eyes and brain aren't really considering their actions so... do I make my good healthy top-notch nosh into something they will buy and eat and not be too weirded out by the ....the... flavour thing ... that's happening in their mouth?

Any ideas? Anyone?


davidg618's picture
davidg618 bakeries. There is a renaissance underway in many disciplines in the food world. I would suggest you would change your attitude about hot dogs if you made your own. I highly recommend you obtain a copy of:

Charcuterie The craft of curing and smoking, authored by Michael Ruhlman (food writer) and Brian Polcyn (chef).

Their recipe for hot dogs made simply with beef short ribs, salt and spices is extraordinary.  Surely you could compliment them with a hot dog bun (or perhaps a trendy pretzel bun shaped appropriately) from your bakery.

Charcuterie also is packed with recipes of fresh or smoked sausages--mostly pork based--that celebrate natural ingredients, and would offer variety in your offerings.

Further challenges and delights are also waiting in their more recent book

Salumi, the craft of Italian dry curing.

Good luck,

David G

Wild-Yeast's picture

Hot dogs or sausage sandwich, doesn't matter if they're good. I indulge in hot link sandwiches every so often on slices of toasted Pan au Levain. I have to remember to come up for air every so often - it is that good. In short, it is a good combination and once tasted they will be back to your food concession and your bakery - you did think about putting them on the bakery service list once you serve hot dogs or links at the hockey rink didn't you? Be careful what you start...,  I'll get around to Pan au Levain buns one of these days. I also have the Ruhlman/Polcyn book on charcuterie - it's highly recommended.


sourdoughnut's picture

I think that your customers would be more receptive to a good quality sausage than a good hot dog and it would be easier for you to make. Hot dogs, for all intents and purposes, are bologna. Its what people know and what they expect, so messing with that over processed texture / colour / taste might mess people up. Sausages are a different beast, and can be made out of almost any beast. Many people will be more familiar with a better quality sausage, and what is expected has more range than a hot dog. Sausages are made so many different ways around the world with so many different ingredients that you are limited only by your imagination. You can also prepare seasonal offerings, use nice local ingredients, have hot / mild / smoked  / breakfast options, etc, etc. Also, and don't underestimate the importance of this, people are used to paying more for a sausage than a hot dog, which gives you the fiscal freedom to put better stuff in them.

As for the bun, well, you're a baker: I'm sure you'll come up with something awesome but make sure to include something baked in pastry (high quality sausage roll). People will be lining up for them.

Good luck and have fun!

dabrownman's picture

I love making sausages and they are way better in a fine hot dog bun than any hot dog even though I love home made Bologna  I prefer fresh hot Italian, hot boudin or any smoked sausage (my favorite) but just about any cured one the right size will do fine.  There must be a sausage maker and smoker in a town that size if you don't want to do it yourself, but then the fun, extra profit and gained skills of sausage making go elsewhere/  Making sausage is the closest thing to bread making only better!

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

call it something else.  "Jamie Jam"  or something to mark your place in local culinary history and separate yourself from hot dogs with all it's preconceptions.  

oregoncrepe's picture

We bake fresh hot dog buns daily, and get smoked German sausage from an Oregon vendor.  After eating a quality dog even the kids start wanting real food.  Like your first fresh tomato.  

I don't know much about Nova Scotia (except my branch of family move to Kansas 1800s) but I know in BC sausage rolls in a rough puff  are very popular, and you could probably do well at a game with a nice hot pastie or pork pie.  We make our with a 35% whole wheat flour, baked so there is more food value and better nutrition than a fried pie. 

Good luck!