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Recipe for top-loading hot dog rolls

Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe

Makes 10

Make these by hand or save time and use a USA Pan New England hot dog bun pan; instructions with it ask you to stretch the entire piece of dough to the size of the pan, and set it in, so you don’t have to form the rolls individually. This version (and variations with whole-wheat and rye rolls, go to www.boston.com/food) can be made using bread flour for a denser, chewier texture. If using it, knead more vigorously for an additional 5 minutes.

Butter (for the pans)
Canola oil (for the bowl)
teaspoons active dry yeast
¾cup warm water (105 to
110 degrees)
2tablespoons sugar
2tablespoons unsalted butter,
at room temperature
1egg, lightly beaten
¼cup nonfat dry milk
3tablespoons potato flour or heaping ¼ cup instant potato flakes
cups all-purpose or bread flour
teaspoons salt
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
1teaspoon unsalted butter, melted (for brushing baked rolls)

1. Have on hand a 15-by-6-by-1½-inch New England hot dog bun pan, 1 large rimmed baking sheet, 1 unrimmed baking sheet, and an oven-safe weight, such as a cast-iron skillet. Butter the bun pan and the middle of the unrimmed baking sheet (the size of the pan).

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2. Oil a large bowl and set aside. In another large bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let stand a few minutes to soften. Add the sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, egg, milk, potato flour or flakes, all-purpose or bread flour, and salt. Mix until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.

3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead for 8 to 10 minutes or until it is soft and smooth, working in small amounts of flour if the dough is sticky. Transfer the dough to the oiled bowl and turn to coat it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 to 1½ hours or until doubled in bulk.

4. Set the oven at 350 degrees.

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5. Working in the bowl, gently deflate the dough. Then remove it from the bowl and stretch it with your hands, lifting it in the air as you would pizza dough, until it is about the length and width of the pan. Set the dough in the buttered bun pan, stretching it to the edges as best you can. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

6. Remove the plastic wrap, and press the dough along the sides and into the corners of the pan, making the surface as even as possible. Re-cover the dough and set in a warm place for 20 to 40 minutes or until the buns rise to within ½ inch of the rim.

7. Place the bun pan on the rimmed baking sheet. Set the buttered baking sheet, buttered side down, on top of the buns. Then place the skillet on the baking sheet. Bake the buns for 20 minutes. Remove the skillet and baking sheet. Bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes more or until lightly colored.

8. Place the pan on a rack for 5 minutes. Invert the rolls onto the rack (the rounded bottoms are now the tops). Brush the tops with the 1 teaspoon melted butter. Leave to cool completely.

9. Slice each bun down the middle vertically (but not all the way through); then cut the whole rectangle into individual buns. Or, slice them just before using to better retain freshness. Store rolls for up to 5 days at room temperature or freeze.  Holly Jennings

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