Once you start making a loaf of bread, you'll want to make alllll of your baked goods. Not only does it make the house smell amazing, they are fresh, healthy, and the best-tasting buns you've ever had.
My family loves sourdough. It just makes our guts happy compared to store-bought bread for sure. We can handle regular yeast buns on occasion, and do often make those in a pinch. But I'm a huge fan of keeping the sourdough starter going which means baking often!
Why You Need This Recipe
- Yet another use for your sourdough starter! This one works even if your starter has fallen and needs a feeding.
- The kids can help shape. They won't look perfect but we aren't going for that, right?
- Customize with seeds, soften the tops with butter - you'll enjoy making these a new way each time!
Flour - You can use up to half whole-wheat when you are mixing up the dough, but the remainder (and when mixing the pre-ferment) needs to be all-purpose flour.
Milk - Buttermilk from making butter, milk, non-dairy milk. There are lots of options here, so keep reading!
Honey - Just like when we use regular yeast, sourdough also needs a little bit of food to get those gas bubbles going!
How to Make Sourdough Hot Dog Buns
***See recipe card below for precise measurements and instructions.***
Step 1: Make pre-ferment. 8-12 hours before you want to eat these buns, mix starter, water, and flour. Basically a feed!
Step 2: Make the dough. Melt the butter with honey and salt. Remove from the heat and stir in the milk. Make sure it's the right temp for yeast!
Step 3: Wet ingredients. In a large bowl or your mixer, add the milk mixture and the pre-ferment.
Step 4: Add flour. Here's where the dough comes together! Add the flour a bit at a time, then let the dough rest to hydrate.
Step 5: Knead. In your mixer or with your hands, knead the dough until it tears. This means it has given all it has!
Step 6: Proof. Let rest, covered, until it has doubled.
Step 7: Shape. Divide the dough into 12-16 portions. Pat each one into a rectangle, then roll up and the tuck the ends under if too long for your dogs. Once they are all shaped, flatten them slightly with your hands.
Step 8: Rest. Let these double - make extra sure they have, for the best texture for your hot dog bun!
Step 9: Bake. Top with an egg wash and seeds if desired, then bake until lightly golden. The best way to tell is with a thermometer!
Tips and Tricks
- Grab your instant-read thermometer! Sourdough takes longer to bake through than regular yeast, so you want to check for 180° to know they are done.
- Top with your favourite seeds using an egg wash. Sesame, poppy, or everything bagel seasoning are all great here! This makes plenty so you can make several different kinds.
- Store bread in an air tight container on the counter, or go ahead and wrap well to freeze. I love to make this recipe x4 to be set for many weeks of summer grilling.
- If you really want to be particular about it, you can always weigh the total dough and then divide it out into the number of buns.
You can very easily make these vegetarian/vegan. Use maple syrup or sugar instead of honey. Use coconut oil instead of butter.
The milk is super forgiving, so pick up unsweetened almond milk instead of milk. Water down cultured buttermilk or yogurt to a milk consistency. I like to use my 'buttermilk' from making butter so it doesn't go to waste. And in a pinch, water will work!
Get into a groove with your starter and pay attention to how long it takes to double after a feed, and then falls. You can use your starter even if it's about time for another feed. This isn't quite considered discard, and we are immediately feeding it to make a pre-ferment anyway so it's ok! Take out what you need for this recipe and feed the remainder.
Adding an egg is a great way to soften the texture. You can add an egg in to the pre-ferment and then reduce the milk in the dough by ¼ cup. Another trick I like to use is rubbing a stick of butter over the tops of the buns as soon as they come out of the oven.
A way to tell if they have risen well is if you flour a finger and poke the dough. If the indent stays, the dough has given all it has to give. If it springs back (it won't be fast, a few seconds) it still needs to rise more.
Don't overthink it. Just flatten a rough rectangle and roll it up. Creating tension across the top of the bun when rolling helps it keeps its shape. They don't have to perfect or all be the same shape. I do recommend patting them flatter after shaping to ensure they aren't too tall or you won't be able to bite into it when it's got the dog and all the toppings inside!
What to Serve with Hot Dogs
More Sourdough Recipes You'll Love
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Sourdough Hot Dog Buns
- ½ cup sourdough starter see notes
- ½ cup warm water
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- Pre-ferment from above
- 1 tablespoon butter, coconut oil, or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey see notes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup milk see notes
- 2¼ -2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- Butter to brush crust after baking optional
- 1 large egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water
- Seeds of choice (poppy, sesame, etc.)
- Mix the pre-ferment of sourdough starter, flour, and water up 8-12 hours before you want to bake. The longer beforehand, the more sour your end product will be. If I plan to mix the dough in the morning, I make it before bed. See notes about adding an egg.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and let sit on the counter. If you use warm water, it speeds up, cold water slows it down.
To Make the Dough
- Melt butter, honey, and salt on low in a saucepan. When it's melted and combined, turn off the heat, add your milk, and stir to combine. With a thermometer or your finger, test the temperature of the mixture. By thermometer, it should be no more than 105°F. By your finger...you should be able to comfortably hold it in for 10 seconds. If it's not this warm, turn the heat back on to warm it. If I use a heavy bottom pot, there is enough residual heat to heat the milk, if I use something like a thin enamel pot, there isn't.
- Add the warm liquid to your mixer (or bowl you plan to mix the dough in) and add your pre-ferment.
- Stir to combine; it's not going to combine super well until you start adding flour.
- Add your flour, starting on the low end, and mix the dough, adding more flour as needed just until it's combined, but not a cohesive, nice dough.
- Let sit 15-30 minutes to hydrate, then knead the dough.
- Knead it by hand or with a machine until the dough starts to tear - this means it's had enough and needs to rest. If the dough sticks to the bowl or your hands, add a little more flour, but try not to add too much. It's not a stiff dough, it's on the softer side. Try wetting your hands/counter for kneading if it's sticking and you've already added a lot more flour.
- Let it rise until doubled, about 6-8 hours.
- Divide dough into 12-16 buns, depending on how big you like them. First I flatten into a rectangle, then I roll into a log. I set them all to rest on the tray and after a few minutes I flatten them out, as I dont want really tall hot dog buns.
- Let rise until well risen, almost doubled! Don't rush this, it's a good few hours! This is a trick to getting good buns. If you started the dough in the morning, you should be able to bake right before dinner.
- A way to tell if it's risen well is if you flour a finger and poke the dough, if the indent stays, the dough has given all it has to give. If it springs back (it wont be fast, a few seconds) it still needs to rise more.
- For an optional gourmet look, beat an egg with a tablespoon of water. Brush the tops of the buns and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds for pretty buns.
- Bake at 375°F for 15-20 min, until golden or internal temp is 180°F. Sourdough buns always take longer than regular yeast so when you're first getting to know sourdough baking, I highly recommend using an instant read thermometer to know that it's baked through.
- Sourdough starter needs to have doubled, but can be falling and needing to be fed. It does not need to be at "optimal bread baking state" for this recipe.
- In place of honey, try 1 tablespoon maple syrup or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar.
- Save your "buttermilk" from making butter as a perfect way to avoid waste. You can also water down cultured buttermilk or yogurt until it is the consistency of milk.
- Got a lot of eggs? Add one in when you mix up the pre-ferment. Then make yourself a note to reduce the milk amount by ¼ cup when you mix up the dough.