I have been experimenting with my sourdough starter a lot recently and decided to try my hand at making some hot dog buns for our bratwurst last night. The resulting bread was amazing in both taste and texture. Incredibly soft and deliciously rich with just a mild sour flavor. If you have an active sourdough starter then you can go ahead and make this recipe without too much work. For those interested in creating a sourdough starter for themselves, go to this post for instructions on how to do so.
Home made hot dog buns:
Make a sponge with your starter by adding 1 c each of water and flour then letting it sit for 4-8 hours or until it has a nice bubbly, spongy consistency.
2 c sponge
3 TBSP sunflower oil
1 TBS salt
2 TBS evaporated cane juice
3 c sifted unbleached all purpose flour
When the sponge is ready, measure out two cups then reserve the rest so as to keep your starter culture. Add the sunflower oil, salt and sugar to the sponge mixture and stir a couple of times with a wooden spoon. Then add the flour in 1/2 c increments, stirring to mix once or twice before adding the next.
Once you have added about 2 cups of flour the dough should come together enough so that you can kneed it, but it will remain sticky. At this point I like to turn it out on a floured board and add the remaining cup a few tablespoons at a time, working it in until adding another. This serves no other purpose than to make it easier on me as I don’t have a mixer with a dough hook. If you have such a tool, you could probably add all three cups before turning the dough out on a board.
Kneed the bread until it becomes velvety soft, then let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size. Due to the nature of sourdough, this takes longer than with active yeast. Usually two hours, depending on temp, location and strength of the starter.
Once the dough has doubled in size you can punch it down and then cut it into shape to make the buns. I sadly did not take pictures of this process so I don’t have a good illustration, however it is fairly straightforward. Basically you want to make the buns slightly smaller than you’d like the finished product, and while the dough won’t stretch very well at this stage, it will roll up into shape quite nicely. Place the buns on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and place in the oven.
Do not preheat! You want the dough to rise again a tad in order to provide a bun-like texture.
Once the buns are in the oven, set it to 350 and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until they begin to brown on top.
The entire batch of dough can yield between 10 and 12 buns depending on how large you make them.