Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What's in a Grocery Store Hot Dog Bun?

I had a hot dog bun the other day from a large and widely distributed bun manufacturer in the Midwest.

I glanced at the ingredients listed on the bag and read this shocking ingredient list for my hot dog bun:
  1. Enriched wheat flour
  2. Water
  3. Corn syrup
  4. Soybean oil
  5. Yeast
  6. Salt
  7. Wheat gluten
  8. Mono and diglycerides (see ingredient 9)
  9. Ethoxylated Mono and diglycerides (emulsifier or fat substitute generally recognized as safe in the United States, but banned for use in foods in Europe.  
  10. Sodium stearoyl
  11. Lactylate
  12. Ascorbic Acid
  13. Calcium Peroxide (a bleaching agent)
  14. Polysorbate 60
  15. Azodicarbonamide (a synthetic compound used as a bleaching agent)
  16. Calcium Propionate (a preservative that is slightly toxic)
  17. Monocalcium Phosphate (agricultural fertilizer that is also a leavening agent)
  18. Calcium Sulfate (industrial chemical)
  19. Ammonium Sulfate (inorganic salt and artificial soil fertilizer)
I almost always make homemade buns for our family.  I will provide the recipe below at the end of the post, but check out my ingredients:
  1. King Arthur Bread Flour (not bromated or bleached)
  2. Water
  3. 1 organic, cage-free egg
  4. 2 tablespoons organic butter
  5. 1/4 cup organic sugar
  6. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  7. 1 tablespoon instant yeast
I would add links to explain all of my ingredients above, but I think you get it!

Without the added preservatives, I use the bun(s) I need at the moment and immediately freeze the remaining in a freezer-grade Ziplock bag for future use.  About 30 seconds in the microwave and they are good to go when I need them.  They keep in the freezer for up to six months, but never last that long.

I freeze our breads this way too.  After the loaf cools, I pre-slice the loaf and freeze the individual slices.  The slices come back to life nicely in the microwave for a few seconds or can go straight from the freezer to the toaster.

Now for the recipe.  This is a recipe originally posted by Ellen Dill on bakingcircle.com called "Beautiful Burger Buns".  While the recipe calls for the making of hamburger buns, it is easily adapted to hot dog buns too and will make about 12 hot dog buns rather than the 8 hamburger buns mentioned. And, of course, you will want to shape them as a hot dog bun.  Keep in mind the dough will almost double in size as it rests before baking.

Beautiful Burger Buns:

  • cup water
  • tablespoons butter
  • large egg
  • 3 1/4 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • teaspoon salt
  • tablespoon quick-rising yeast
  • teaspoon onion powder (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried onion flakes (onion)


  1. 1
    Combine all the ingredients and mix and knead them together, by hand or by mixer, until you have a soft, smooth dough.
  2. 2
    Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour.
  3. 3
    Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each piece into a flattened ball; place the buns on greased baking sheets, cover and let rise 30-40 minutes, until they're puffy.
  4. 4
    Preheat oven to 375°.
  5. 5
    Bake the buns for 12-15 minutes, until they're golden brown; remove from oven and baking sheet and cool them on a rack.
  6. 6
    Split and use for burgers or sandwiches.
  7. 7
    For burgers, butter the split sides and fry them, buttered side down, until they're golden brown and warmed through.

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