Fire up the grill, because these soft, squishy gluten free hot dog buns are better than anything you can buy at the grocery store.
What makes these buns special/why make instead of buy?
If you got here by searching for “gluten free hot dog buns near me,” that means you’re looking to buy buns. But wait! Give me 2 minutes to try to convince you that it’s better (and easy!) to make them yourself.
There are plenty of companies that make packaged gf hot dog buns these days. Schar, Canyon Bakehouse and Udi’s all sell gluten free hot dog buns.
But even the best among them, which I would say is probably Schar, simply don’t hold up to scrutiny. They fall apart, and they’re far from squishy.
Not everyone has time or the inclination to make homemade hot dog buns every time, of course. But this recipe makes a classic, squish bun that has a very light, browned crust and is perfectly fluffy inside. Make it at least once, so you know that the packaged kinds need to improve their product.
You may still buy packaged buns from time to time. I may, as well! But I know that they’re not good enough, and I don’t believe it has to be that way. Let’s pressure them to make them at least as good as gluten free packaged breads, which are really quite good.
How to shape these gf hot dog buns
This bread dough is pretty highly enriched, with milk, melted butter, and an egg. When it’s ready for shaping, it should be tacky to the touch, but not especially wet.
The dough should rest for at least 2 hours before you handle it. This will allow the flours to absorb the moisture in the other ingredients, making the dough easier to work with.
When you begin to shape a divided one-sixth of the dough into the shape that will become a hot dog bun, you should begin with clean, dry hands and no additional flour. If the dough is too sticky to shape like that, try letting it rest for longer and working with it a bit cold.
How to get a nice, even rise
The moment you add additional flour to the dough, you are likely to add pleats to the dough that will separate as the dough rises and bakes. If you shape the dough without additional flour, you can pinch together any pleats or breaks in the dough, and they should disappear.
The shaping is finished on a very lightly floured surface, with a tiny bit of extra tapioca starch/flour, just to smooth the top. That gives the dough a nice smooth cloak to rise into.
Keep in mind that overproofing is not ever the result of having let your raw yeast dough rise too long. It’s the result of letting the dough rise too much.
In cold, dry weather, the dough will take longer to rise. In warm, humid weather, it will rise more rapidly. Patience is key!
If you’d like to make a New England-style gluten free hot dog bun, which is shaped more like a piece of white bread, shaped into a bun, I have a separate recipe for that. Just follow the link in the previous sentence for that recipe.
Ingredients and substitutions
If you can’t have dairy, try replacing the melted butter with melted vegan butter. Melt and Miyoko’s Kitchen brands are my favorite.
In place of dairy milk, any unsweetened nondairy milk should work. My favorite is unsweetened almond milk, since it still has some fat, and that adds welcome richness.
There is only one egg in this recipe, so I think you could replace it with one “chia egg.” Place 1 tablespoon ground white chia seeds and 1 tablespoon lukewarm water in a small bowl, then mix and allow to sit until it gels.
There is a fair amount of tapioca starch/flour in this recipe. It’s in addition to whatever tapioca starch you’ll find in your all purpose gluten free flour (as most good GF flour blends will contain it).
If you can’t have or can’t find tapioca starch, you can try replacing it with superfine sweet white rice flour (also called glutinous rice flour). It has a similar, although not exact, sticky, stretchy quality.
You must use some form of commercial yeast for this recipe. I always bake with instant yeast (which is also called bread maker or rapid rise yeast).
If you would prefer to use active dry yeast, you’ll need to use more, and to “prove” the yeast in some of the milk in the recipe before you add it to the rest of the mixture. The general rule of thumb is to use 25% more active dry yeast than instant yeast, by weight.