CHINESE HOT DOG BUNS
Hot Dog Buns in China. It’s an Asian bakery classic, the food of my childhood, and the inevitable outcome of years of cultural assimilation.
As I got older, I came to realize how…actually disappointing these Chinese hot dog buns are on a lot of occasions. Nothing is appetizing about a chilly hot dog of uncertain origin wrapped in bread that has softened after a lengthy vehicle ride. I went from craving the Chinese bakery’s hot dog buns to dreading them in favor of coconut and pineapple buns in a couple of days.
A hot dog bun hadn’t been on my plate in more than 10 years until last weekend. Because my mother discovered a cousin’s simple Asian milk bread recipe, it was time to re-examine this old favorite.
- 2/3 cup of heavy cream (room temperature)
- 1 cup of milk (plus 1 tbsp., room temperature; total 250 ml)
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of cake flour
- 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
- 1 tbsp. of active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp. of salt
- 1 tbsp. of oil
- 12 hot dogs
- Egg wash: whisk together 1 egg with 1 tsp. of water
- Simple syrup: 2 tsp. of sugar dissolved in 2 tsp. of hot water
- Add the heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt to a mixing bowl and blend until smooth (add it in that order). Turn the mixer’s “stir” setting to “dough hook.” Keep mixing for 15 minutes at a time, pushing the dough together as you go.
- The dough is ready for proving after 15 minutes. Place the bowl in a warm place with a moist towel on top for an hour. The dough will expand by a factor of 1.5.
- While waiting, heat a skillet with a tablespoon of oil on medium heat. Add the hot dogs and cook until they begin to crisp and take on color. To chill, place the items on a dish and place them somewhere cool.
- Remove air bubbles from the dough by mixing it for additional 5 minutes after proving for an hour. Cut the dough into 12 pieces and place them on a lightly floured surface.
- The oven should be preheated to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the middle thicker than the ends of each piece of dough as you roll it into a 10- to 12-inch rope for each piece of dough. Tuck the ends of the rope into the hot dog as you move it around it. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, spread the mixture evenly (keep the buns 2-3 inches apart). Continue assembling the buns until they are all complete.
- Allow the buns to rise for another hour in a warm location covered with a kitchen towel. Ideally, you want the buns to have nearly doubled in size. 14 minutes of baking time with a half-turn of the pans is recommended.
- Brush the buns with sugar water as soon as they come out of the oven. As a result of this final stage, they get their distinctive Chinese bakery luster.