New England Split-Top Hotdog Buns

The Homemade Version, brushed with melted butter

The Homemade Version, brushed with melted butter

Oh, how we took things for granted in our youth.  Those boring little everyday things like these.

I recently had leftover cooked lobsters, and decided the best way to serve the cold lobster meat was in Lobster Rolls.  Living as I do in Minnesota, it is not possible to purchase the appropriate rolls for lobster rolls.  And we all know that your basic bratwurst bun, while perfectly fine for bratwurst, is NOT a suitable vehicle for the lobster roll, as the sides have a crust, and cannot reach the appropriate texture of toastiness when buttered and grilled as the immortal New England style Split-Top bun.  Here is a photo of what I’m trying to explain.  Doesn’t that look DIVINE?

Jeffrey Steingarten, food writer for Vogue magazine,  in his book It Must Have Been Something I Ate, explains the importance of having the right kind of roll when you make a lobster roll, much like the folks at http://theslowcook.blogspot.com/ and http://www.rootsandgrubs.com/ do, with more eloquence than I could.

What’s a Mainer in Minnesota to do?  Make her own, of course.  The King Arthur Flour people have sold special pans for these in the past, but they go out of stock quickly, and I couldn’t get one before the lobster got devoured anyway.

So, I searched for a recipe to start from, and I found this one, so thanks to Sally the submitter, whomever she is.  I modified this slighty, and we made it with the KitchenAid, so my directions reflect that method.

Equipment:

  • Electric mixer with dough hook
  • scale
  • dry measuring cups
  • measuring spoons
  • pastry cloth/board
  • rolling pin
  • liquid measuring cup
  • mixing bowl, large
  • baking pan(s) (9×13 is OK, but  I think 2 7×11 pans would be better)
  • oven
  • instant read thermometer
  • pastry brush (optional)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup butter  (or 1/2 stick, in the USA) , plus some (optional)
  • 23 oz. all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading, rolling, and shaping
  • 0.85 oz. sugar (2 Tbsp)
  • 0.25 oz instant yeast (1 envelope, or approx. 1 tsp.)
  • 0.17 oz  table salt (5 grams, or 1 tsp)
  • 1 egg

Procedure:

  1. Melt the butter. (I used the microwave, and a large Pyrex measuring cup.) Add the milk and water.  Take temperature of the liquid.  If 120 degrees F (50 degrees C),  you’re ready to go.  If not, heat until you reach a temperature between 110F and 120F, but not over. (Hotter will kill the yeast.)
  2. Mix 8.75 oz (1 3/4 cups) of flour, yeast, sugar, salt together in the large mixing bowl.  Add the milk/butter mixture, and beat together using the paddle attachment on your mixer. Add the egg, and beat it in.  Beat in the remaining flour, 2.5 oz. (1/2 cup) at a time, beating well between additions.  When the dough has pulled together, switch to the dough hook, and let it knead for 8 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Divide the dough into 12 pieces, (3.5 to 3.75 oz).  Roll each piece into a 6 x 4 inch rectangle.  Roll them up along the longer side, and pinch the ends together to seal them.  Place them seam side down in the greased baking pan, close together, so you will get the fluffy sides when you separate them.
  4. Let them rise 20-25 minutes in the pan before baking.  Bake 10-14 minutes, or until golden brown.  Brush top crusts with melted butter (optional) for that lovely shine.
  5. Remove from pan and let cool completely before separating and slicing.
  6. To make the top slice, separate a single bun at a time from the “loaf”. Slice vertically through the center top crust, until 3/4 through the bun.

Some photographic evidence of the process is below.  Thanks to DH for taking the photos.

Making the dough balls for each roll

Making the dough balls for each roll

Using the scale to get reasonably even sized pieces

Using the scale to get reasonably even sized pieces

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Forming the hotdog bun shape

Forming the hotdog bun shape

Formed Rolls in Pan

Formed Rolls in Pan

Here to the right you can see the lovely lobster that I’d removed from the shells, and was rinsing and drying before refrigerating, for the eventual lobster rolls. And YES, they were delicious!

Baked Hotdog Buns

Baked Hotdog Buns

I think I’d make these in a narrower pan next time, so they’d be a little shorter and wider.  I think a 7 x 11 brownie pan would be the right width.   This is a remarkably delicate and tasty roll, however, and I’m going to make them again, soon.  Might have to make sausages to put in them this time. Or maybe some other kind of filling that would be good with the grilled sides.

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8 Responses to New England Split-Top Hotdog Buns

  1. ELAINE says:

    THANKS FOR THIS RECIPE AND THE PICS TO GO WITH. I’M IN MD. THERE ARE NO NEW ENGLAND HOTDOG ROLLS HERE EITHER. CAN’T WAIT TO MAKE THEM. YUMMMM!

  2. ELAINE says:

    THANKS FOR THIS RECIPE AND THE PICS TO GO WITH. CAN’T WAIT TO MAKE THEM. YUMMMM! FROM N.H AND NOW IN MD. NONE HERE EITHER!

  3. CJ says:

    I just made some of these from a different recipe, but yours seems to be simple and I love the idea of rolling the dough in individual rolls, the next time I make these I will try your recipe. I do have a New England Style Hog Dog Pan and only because I tried making these on a baking sheet and well they were awful, came out flat. I can’t tell by the picture, does this make 12 or 6? And thanks so much for the pictures.

  4. admin says:

    I think I got about 12, but they were a little on the thin side width wise.

  5. Sheila says:

    Ah…. the New England split hotdog/lobstah salad roll. The thought of them make me homesick. I can’t wait to make them.

  6. Rick says:

    I have your buns I marketed them as minnesota flats. I showcased them at the tast of minnesota in 2000 and 2006 they were a hit. I still do small shows now and again

  7. Mrs Soraya Nims-Berry says:

    I am inquiring about the NE rolls. I have friends who have moved to Charlotte, NC & opened an restaurant by the name of New England Seafood. They are having the hardest time finding these rolls & at a reasonable price per case plus shipping. Do you sell them by the cases?

  8. Jennifer says:

    I am not a seller of these hotdog buns. The maker of them is called LePage Bakeries. Here is their contact info. Perhaps if your friend tries calling them, they’ll get some info on how to source them for their restaurant.

    Lepage Bakeries, Inc.

    Address
    Country Kitchen Plaza
    P.O. Box 1900
    Auburn, Maine
    04211-1900

    Phone
    207.783.9161

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