Super Soft Spelt Flour Hot Dog Buns
These simple, yet oh so soft, spelt flour hot dog buns are amazing. Quick, no fancy ingredients, just bread that is unbelievably soft.
Unless you’ve been sleeping under a rock, you know hot dogs are not healthy. No sausage is, really. However, if you live in Sweden, you can’t escape the sausage. They are everywhere. And my kids have always loved a good ‘dog. White, mass-produced hot dog bread is a no-go though. Not in my house, anyway.
So why not make your kids’ day and whip up some good old hot dogs, just a little healthier, thanks to these spelt flour hot dog buns. Goodness, if you add fried onions and ketchup, you are well on your way to having your five a day. Just kidding.
When I first made these spelt flour hot dog buns, I used by bread machine. However, I now prefer to whip up the dough in my stand mixer.
Is a bread machine worth it?
I used to think so. That was when I always made my dough in it. With the exception of my wholemeal cinnamon toast bread, I rarely use my bread machine to actually make a loaf. I like to make bread in all shapes and sizes, like cinnamon swirl bread, lime bread with a tangy drizzle, and cheddar cheese garlic spelt bread, so I much prefer the flexibility of a stand mixer.
It’s all about personal preference, though. I know many people who can’t live without their bread machine. One of its biggest benefits is the reliability: it does what it’s supposed to, and you can predict the end result quite accurately. Another perk is that most modern bread machines are digital, with timers, which means you can add the ingredients to the machine and wake up to warm, freshly made bread. There’s nothing better on a chilly Sunday morning. As much as I enjoy the simplicity of my stand mixer, one of the drawbacks is that I need to keep a fairly close eye on what the dough is doing, which isn’t the case with a bread machine.
One negative of a bread machine is that it has limited uses. Although modern bread machines often have options to bake cakes or even make jam, I’ve personally never used mine for anything other than baking bread. My stand mixer though, is used for pretty much all of my baking preparations. Plus, as touched on above, if you use your bread machine for the whole process (as opposed to just preparing dough like I do), you are restricted to creating a simple loaf shape.
So, deciding if a bread machine is indeed worth it might just come down to whether you already have a stand mixer (and if so, do you need an additional appliance?) and what you intend to do with the bread machine.
What are the benefits of making your own bread?
It’s better for you
Hands down, it’s so much better for you. I personally like to know what’s in my food. And that’s not me getting all holier than thou. I don’t preach, but I do like to make informed choices.
The fermentation process
A huge downside of store-bought bread is how quickly it is made. Factories are now equipped with impressive production lines and often use something called the Chorleywood Baking Process. This allows for the manufacturing of bread on a grand scale. Traditionally, making bread was a lengthy process, with time given to allow for a slow proofing. Being able to radically accelerate this time-consuming step of making bread has not only altered how it is made, but seemingly, the effect it has on our bodies.
One of the reasons why I switched to making my own bread was that my digestive system couldn’t handle mass-produced factory loaves. At first I thought it was the gluten, but it appears that the culprit might actually be the faster proofing process.
A little chemistry: fermentation in bread takes place when yeast begins to feed on the sugar found in the dough. This kicks off the production of carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide gets trapped in the dough, causing little pockets of air to form, and this is what causes the bread rise. Now, imagine this process speeded up? I am no scientist, and this is a baking blog, but before I get back in my lane, it’s worth considering the possible implications of eating bread that has been artificially enhanced.
It’s not only the fermentation process that sets alarm bells ringing when talking about mass-produced bread. We can’t throw all bread into the same basket, as there are some beautifully nutritious breads available. However, your regular white sliced loaf is packed with additives and ingredients that you really don’t want in your bread.
Ever left a shop-bought loaf on the counter for days (if not weeks) only to realise it never got moldy? I have. Messing around one day, I hit one of my teenagers with a loaf of sliced bread. Don’t ask. The packaging burst open and bread catapulted in every direction. Unbeknown to me, one slice had landed on top of the kitchen cupboards. Months later, I found it. It was as good as the day I’d accidentally flung it up there. Yep, that will be the preservatives. Other unwelcome additions include salt, unhealthy vegetable fat, and sweeteners (such as corn syrup or dextrose).
It tastes amazing
There is nothing, nothing that beats the smell of fresh bread. It’s no surprise that estate agents (realtors) advise baking a loaf before any prospective buyers show up. Warm bread, slathered in butter, is other worldly. If you add seeds, and a touch of wholemeal flour, you will never buy bread again.
The problem is that many of us have got so used to processed white bread that we find the denser crumb of some home-baked loaves off-putting. But what if I told you that these hot dog buns are just as soft as any shop-bought bun you might find? Look at the crumb on them. Does it look dense to you? No, siree.
Homemade bread can be adapted to suit your own preferences, and as I’ve alright highlighted above, you can go crazy with the hundreds of different ways you can use the same dough. Most of my bread recipes use exactly the same base dough recipe (even the sweet bread). You can throw seeds in, add garlic and herbs, a handful of cheese, or dried fruit. I even use my bread dough for pizza. It’s limitless.
If you liked this recipe for hot dog buns, you might be interested to learn that I’ve made an iced finger bun version, topped with blackberry icing.
Super Soft Spelt Flour Hot Dog Buns
- 1 egg
- 250ml (1 cup) milk
- 50g (3½ tbs) butter (chopped)
- 400-450g (3⅓ -3¾ cups) spelt flour (see note 2)
- 7g (2 tsp) dried yeast (see note 3)
- ½ tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
DOUGH (see note 1)
- Add the egg, milk, and butter to your bread machine pan. Then add 400g (3⅓ cups) flour and the remaining dry ingredients, taking care to keep the yeast and salt separate as much as possible. Set your machine to make dough.
- On a very well-floured surface (the dough will be very sticky) work in just as much flour as you need to make a soft, pliable, but still a little tacky, dough.
- Add the milk, egg, and butter to your stand mixer bowl, and mix together. If the butter is straight out of the fridge, it won't combine with the other wet ingredients too much, but that's okay.
- Then add 450g (3¾ cups) of flour, and the remaining ingredients. If you need more flour, just add it a little at a time. The dough should be sticky, but if you need more flour, just add a little at a time. Be careful: too much flour will result in dry bread.
- Switch to a dough hook (if you have one) and allow the mixer to knead the dough for around 10 minutes, just until soft. The dough will still feel a little tacky to the touch, but will be able to slowly drop off the hook.
- Cover the dough and leave to proof (until it has doubled in size - usually about an hour).
- When the dough is ready, knock it back, and on a floured surface, form into a rough ball.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400℉).
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces of around the same weight.
- Roll each piece into a "hot dog roll" shape of around 14cm long. Turn the ends over, and tuck them under (pinching the edges).
- Place the rolls on a large baking tray lined with grease proof paper. I like to position my buns close together so that they merge, as this creates softer buns. To do this, they need a space of only 1-2cm between them. If you would prefer the buns to not spread into each other, make sure you have more space between them.
- Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for around 30 minutes.
- Bake for 10 minutes, just until the tops are nice and brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
- I have made the dough using both a stand mixer and bread machine with identical results. I have not made the dough by hand, but I see no reason why you couldn't do so!
- You can use spelt or regular flour for this recipe (just use the same amount).
- In Sweden we have something called dried yeast. It is used both in warm liquid to proof and also added directly to flour. I am aware that the US has two options for dried yeast, and I believe dry active yeast is the most similar to our dried yeast.