The Fresh Loaf

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New England Style Hot Dog Buns

yy's picture

New England Style Hot Dog Buns

After having delicious lobster rolls with New England style buns at RM seafood in Las Vegas, I became obsessed with soft, toasty rolls with just the right amount of crunch. I decided to buy a New England hot dog bun pan (of course, the buns can be made with an ordinary sheet pan, but I just felt like purchasing a unique piece of equipment).

I used a 3/4 recipe of the  golden pull-apart butter buns on King Arthur Flour's online blog, replaced all the liquid with milk for flavor, and increased the hydration to about 70%:

314 g ap flour
16 g potato starch
15 g dry milk
18 g sugar
43 g soft butter
220 g milk (scalded and cooled)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast

I followed the instructions on KAF's blog, but I divided the dough into 10 equal pieces, and in the shaping step, I rolled each piece out to a thin sheet and rolled them up into logs. Each log was placed into a groove in the pan:

Here they are, fully risen and just placed into the oven. A 3/4 recipe makes a pretty good amount of dough for the size of pan. The proper amount of kneading will allow this dough to triple, almost quadruple in size.

Immediately after taking them out of the oven, they were brushed generously with butter to soften the crust:

Just before eating, they were sliced apart and then slit in the middle, like so:

Toasted them on each side with a little butter

The crunchiness of the toasted surface went perfectly with the snap of the natural casing hot dog. The king arthur recipe is very rich, buttery, and sweet.

I love how these buns stand up so straight:-). I'm pleased with how this pan makes a bun that's not too big and not too small. One of my pet peeves is a hot dog that's drowning in a mountain of bread. Personally, I'm addicted to the toastiness of the New England style roll. I don't think I'll go back to regular soft hot dog buns. Was it worth the $25 to buy this special "unitasker?" I would say yes, but I just wanted a new toy. I'm thinking of it as a pre-moving gift to myself, before I make the great schlep from San Francisco to New Haven, CT.  Maybe there are other uses for it, too. Enchiladas?

There are 2 of us in this household, so the 10 buns give us enough for dinner and plenty for leftovers tomorrow. I'll probably use the remaining 6 buns to use up the leftover chicken meatballs in marinara and the leftover Italian sausage.


MadAboutB8's picture

and you achieved such a great volume too. I'm drooling over the buns, they looks so buttery and moist. The hot dog pan is so cool. Thanks for sharing.



Floydm's picture

Those buns look great!

Anjali's picture

The rolls look fabulous and must have tasted yummy. Thanks for the recipe.

I would like to try them. Can you suggest a replacement for potato starch? I don't know if I can find some.




yy's picture

I haven't tried this substitution myself, but I believe you can use corn starch or tapioca starch or arrowroot - anything that absorbs water well but doesn't contribute any strange flavors.

Anjali's picture

Thanks for the prompt reply. I will give it a shot with corn starch.


mrfrost's picture

Doesn't the KA recipe call for potato flour or flakes?

Do you find that the starches work better(and/or no off flavor), or is this more of  "what's on hand"?

Very nice buns btw. Looks delicious.

yy's picture

Thanks for reminding me. Yes, the KA recipe actually calls for potato flour, but in one of their customer service responses, a they mention that potato starch is interchangeable.

I used potato starch because it was what I had on hand. I don't believe the quantity they use will make the bread taste too potato-y. The purpose seems to be to contribute moisture rather than flavor.

G-man's picture

Whenever I get potato starch, the box says "Potato Starch Flour". I always just assumed it was for use in recipes that called for either starch or flour. Since a potato is 90% starch (completely unscientific, don't quote me) I always figured there wasn't a difference.


Also, corn starch has a flavor to it. I'd probably go with something neutral, much like the potato starch. Rice flour, for example.

Anjali's picture

In that case should I try using half of a small boiled potato and reduce the liquid a little?



yy's picture

Hi Anjali

sorry I just saw your message. Instead of using the potato itself, maybe use the liquid you boiled it in. I've seen recipes that call for potato water, so I don't see why you couldn't boil the potatoes in milk and then strain the potatoes out. You would probably have to reduce the liquid, just as you said.

I haven't tried this recipe without any potato starch, but I don't think leaving it out will be fatal to the outcome. You may lose some softness, but the flavor should be just fine.

Wild-Yeast's picture

I'll pray for your soul...., May you return from the land of the Pastey Face soon...,

Good Luck, Wild-Yeast

yy's picture

haha thanks. your prayers give me strength :-)

Amori's picture

I've used that yummy recipe from KA's blog using European style butter and the starchy water from boiled potatoes for TG.

Thanks for the adaptations, this batch is perfect for a family of 4!  DH's salad has my least favorite condiment: Mayo therefore, I decreased the butter to 28g [plugra] and also skipped the brushing after baking. No potato starch in the pantry so I used 3 Tb of potato flakes instead and increased the milk to 248 g.

Yolk glaze: 2 Tb cream+1 yolk right after shaping and once again before baking:

Toasted w/o butter on nonstick pan a few seconds per side:

Next morning, DH filled  a few cold buns with peanut butter other with nutella then toasted them on each side with a bit of unsalted plugra butter....heavenly! Thanks again YY

yy's picture

gorgeous! Plugra butter is amazing. Mass produced "American" butters taste like nothing compared to it. Is that shrimp in your sandwich? yum.

Amori's picture

You yy for your kind comments. Agreed, that butter is delicious..specially in scones! Yes, that was shrimp salad in the bun.

Yundah's picture

I've been living in Michigan so long, and I really miss "real" hot dog buns.  I kept eyeing the bun pan in KA and thinking, "I could do that" but I hadn't gotten up the nerve? energy? to try.  You have inspired me however and I am going to do this.  Your posting was timely.  I'm heading "home" on vacation and first on my eating out list is a lobster roll, followed the next day by a clam roll.  Thanks.  

yy's picture

Glad that all of us new england bun fans are coming out of the closet! I'm moving to Connecticut from California in a few weeks, so hopefully a good lobster roll will be only a short road trip away soon.

Thaichef's picture

Hello YY:

 What a great looking hot dog buns!  My husband is from New England and we love those buns. We can't get it from our area so we have to buy the regular buns and my husband complaints about it every time!  Not any more, Iwill make it myself.

Questions please:

1.Where do you get the pan? I will need to get one and soon. I can't  wait to surprise my husband with serving the hot dog and grilled it properly. We don't have that wonderful hot dog either but....the buns will have such a big impact that Nathan hot dog got to be good enough.

 2. "The proper amount of kneading will allow this dough to triple....".  could you clarify on this? How long, and what is the proper amount of kneading?

  Thank you very much. 


yy's picture

Hi Mantana. In response to your questions:

1. I got the pan on instead of the king arthur flour website because it's the same exact product for $9 cheaper on amazon. However, if you have a lot of coupon codes or a gift certificate, KAF might be a good way to go.

I personally love Nathan's hot dogs, but only the natural casing ones. I just don't feel like it's a real hot dog unless I get that snap when I bite into it.

2.TXfarmer has a very helpful blog entry where she describes what the proper stage of gluten development looks like:

Before reading her "shreddably soft bread" blog posts, I never had the nerve to let the stand mixer go for as long as it needed to to reach the proper stage. It takes a while - maybe a total of 15 minutes at speed 2 or 3 after the butter has been added. I always stop the mixer to check the texture of the dough so that I don't overknead. I'd suggest that you ignore the times I've mentioned and mix in short time intervals and check the dough compulsively until you get the feel for how long it takes with your equipment. TXfarmer also has a blog post where she describes the stages of windowpane development, and what the dough should look like at the most 'perfect' point:

In addition to making sure I mix the dough for long enough, I also hold off on adding the butter until all the other ingredients have come together and begun to gain elasticity - about 3 minutes on speed 2/3. At this stage, the dough is nowhere close to windowpaning and still looks a little bit rough. I find that if I add the butter in the very beginning before allowing some gluten formation, the bread comes out cakelike in texture rather than soft and elastic. I guess it's a matter of personal preference. Good luck!

Thaichef's picture

Hello YY:

  Thank you very much for your details information.  This web site never cease to surprise me with so many wonderful information and the kindness of fellow bakers who gave all to help others!!  Thank you again YY for taking the time to research and gave me help I need. YOU ARE THE BEST !!!



Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Outside AND Inside for even more flavour!  How?  I leave that to your imagination but it can easily be done.

yy's picture

Hmm interesting idea. A few hypotheses:

-red hot poker

-force the sliced bun to do the splits

-jedi mind tricks


Kilo's picture

Your rolls look great! I will be making these tomorrow, 



yy's picture

Thanks for your post. It's good that you mentioned that way of shaping, because there might be some people who find it more desirable to do it that way. In fact, it is the way that King Arthur Flour recommends. For those interested, here is their very helpful blog post about it:

Certainly, the way I shape the buns is not the most time efficient way, but I do it for a reason. The shape and crumb of the buns come out the way I want. I don't like the rectangular look of the buns if they are shaped the King Arthur's way. I use this pan because I like that it gives the buns a slightly rounded contour on the bottoms of the buns, which turn out rounder, plumper and "friendlier". Is this a bit OCD for a result that no one else might be really care about? Probably :-) 


Debra Wink's picture
Debra Wink

if you're doing it "incorrectly," then ....   well, I have no words.  

Wait ... yes I do --- your way is superior :-)

Francine824's picture


When you say "proper amount of kneading" how much time are you talking?

Also, when you say divide into 10 pieces, you do mean AFTER it has risen, correct?



yy's picture

Hi Francine,

There is no definite amount of kneading time. Knead until you get a thin, smooth windowpane. And yes, you divide the dough into 10 pieces after the first bulk rise. The original King Arthur Flour recipe that I linked in my post has more detailed step-by-step instructions that may be a better how-to guide than my post. Happy baking!

Brian's picture

how did you toast your NE rolls on both sides? Is there a commercial toaster that will toast both sides?