homemade whole wheat hotdog buns

How to make soft whole wheat hot dog buns

June is the month when we air out our camping gear and study the calendar for the perfect weekend to pack up and spend a few days in nature.

Whether you are pitching a tent in the backyard or camping on a pebbly lake shore, cooking over an open fire is such a fun family experience. We generally stick to real food camping meals, but once in a while it’s fun to roast a sausage on a stick and wrap it in a soft bun. For our (mostly) whole foods family, this takes a bit of planning, but here’s how I prep for a cook-out.

We’ll go to a nearby farm we know of that sells lamb sausage, or we’ll pick up organic, all-beef hot dogs at our local market for the excursion, so finding whole-food sausage is fairly easily done. But then there is the problem of the buns, as I refuse to buy pasty, all-white buns that are filled with sugar and who knows what else. I’ll consume these at the occasional hockey game, but I sure am not stocking up on them for a camping trip.

Homemade Whole Wheat Hotdog Buns on Simple Bites | www.simplebites.net

Our local health food store sells some decent unprocessed hot dog buns, but they cost a pretty penny, and around here we’re all about eating well and spending less. In fact, it’s my theme for this post, along with summer food to go.

So, for the past two summers I’ve been making my hot-dog buns and they are so, so great. A bit of butter and an egg in the dough keeps them soft, buttermilk gives the buns a nice tangy flavor,  and the whole wheat flour makes for a substantial roll that can hold up to the heftiest sausage.

Read on for the recipe and more suggestions for fireside meals.

Homemade Whole Wheat Hotdog Buns on Simple Bites | www.simplebites.net

This recipe was a riff off of my whole wheat buttermilk rolls (baked in a jar). Remember those? I wanted them to be filling, hence the whole wheat, but still have the look and feel of a traditional hot dog bun.

Well, they don’t look perfect, but they sure pair nicely with a smoky Merguez sausage and a forkful of homemade zucchini relish. June, you are tasting mighty fine!

Tips to working with whole wheat flour

Whole wheat flour can not be swapped interchangeably with white; however, with the right care, it yields a much more flavorful -and healthy- result.

Here are my tips for successful baking with whole wheat flour.

  • Add more liquid to the dough. White flour can be swapped with whole wheat if at least 1/4 cup of extra liquid is added per cup of liquid that the recipe calls for.
  • Don’t rush the process. Allow dough to rest for at least ten minutes immediately after the flour is incorporated, and give it a double rising if possible.
  • Allow dough to be sticky and resist the temptation to add more flour. It will all work out in the end.
  • If you must add a sprinkling of flour for rolling or shaping dough, use a bit of white flour.

Homemade Whole Wheat Hotdog Buns on Simple Bites | www.simplebites.net

Soft Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
4.0 from 3 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 12 buns
Soft and buttery, yet one hundred percent whole wheat, these buns will not only stand up to a hefty sausage, they will elevate your whole campfire meal.
  • 1 Tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon whole cane sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons warm water
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 1/2 cups organic whole wheat bread flour
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for shaping
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 1 Tablespoon, melted
  1. In a small bowl, stir together yeast, cane sugar, and warm water; let mixture stand in a warm place until yeast begins to foam, about five minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine whole wheat flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Make a well in the center and add buttermilk and stir in egg.
  3. Whisk yeast mixture with a fork until dissolved and pour into the flour well.
  4. With the mixer on low, combine flour and liquid until just combined. Turn off mixer and allow to sit for 10 minutes for the wheat to absorb the liquid.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the mixer. With the mixer on low, add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is all absorbed.
  6. Knead dough on low for 5 minutes, scraping down the mixer as needed. Dough will come together to be a smooth, elastic mass. It will be sticky, but do not add more flour.
  7. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
To shape
  1. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan. Generously flour dough and turn onto a floured work surface. Divide into 12 pieces and roll into 3-inch logs.
  2. Place shaped dough in two rows of six in the pan. Don't worry if they are touching each other. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes; meanwhile, preheat oven to 400F. Brush the melted butter over the tops of the risen rolls and place in the middle rack of the oven.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops bottoms are golden. Cool on a wire rack.
I always freeze half of the buns (6) for spontaneous camping excursions. You're probably going to want to do the same!


More camping recipes and resources:

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Be sure to check out what the other ladies are writing about this week on our topic of summer outings and travel on a budget. Posts will be added throughout the week.

Are you camping or cooking around a fire pit this summer?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. These look great, Aimee! James bought me the KAF hot dog bun pan for Christmas, and I haven’t made any yet. He’s given up sugar entirely, and we’ve gone completely whole grain. He’ll love this recipe, and I’ll be glad to use that pan finally!
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies’s last post: Team Green No Longer!

    • I had no idea that pan existed – but of course it does! And kudos to him for kissing sugar goodbye. You can use honey in this dough.

  2. These look so great and so much better than and healthier than anything from the store! Yay!
    Tieghan’s last post: Quick + Easy Southwest Ravioli Skillet Pasta

  3. This is so perfect! I’ve been wanting to make homemade hot dog buns for a while now.
    Rachel @ Baked by Rachel’s last post: Orange Creamsicle Ice Cream

  4. These look absolutely delicious!

  5. Would this recipe work for hamburger buns, too, or would you modify it?

    • It would work well, as the original recipe was for dinner rolls. I’d say 12 as well, and bake them fairly close together on a baking sheet.

  6. I wonder how these would work at high altitude. I just love the idea of homemade buns!

  7. I love this! Have been wanting to try homemade hot dog buns for a while. No excuse now! :)

  8. Love this! Thanks, Aimee!
    Marian (Sweetopia)’s last post: Weight Conversions for Common Baking Ingredients {Free Illustrated Printables}

  9. I love that these are homemade!! So much healthier and better than the store-bought ones. I’m going to keep this in mind for when we grill out :)
    Julie @ Table for Two’s last post: Glazed Orange Pound Cake

  10. What a great idea and so perfect for Summer! Loving this! xoxo
    jenny Flake’s last post: Salsa and Hummus Roasted Chicken Bruschetta

  11. omg I cant even wait to make these! Perfect for this summer :)
    Gaby’s last post: Cheddar Chive Popovers + A Giveaway

  12. Great recipe for summer bbq’s!
    Maria’s last post: Asian Quinoa Salad

  13. I love that you made your own buns and they still look so fluffy!

  14. Perfect for summer barbecues!

  15. We just got back from camping! We roasted sausages from a local farm but had store bought buns which were not so great. Next time, I’ll use this recipe! Baby steps to real food, right? ;-)
    Breanne’s last post: Twitterature (June Edition)

  16. Aimée,
    Great idea to make your own buns, and I like your WW flour tip to let the dough be sticky–that’s so hard to do yet so right.
    Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts’s last post: Strawberry Sour Cream Brown Sugar Soaked Oat Muffins

    • Oh I know! And the dough for these is really wet. But after the first rising, the WW flour has absorbed so much of the liquid.

  17. This is perfect! Have I mentioned I am beyond addicted to hot dogs? I am definitely giving these buns a try this weekend.

    • I’ll only support that addiction if you make homemade buns. And try the relish next. It’s pretty life changing. (linked in the post above)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  18. These look absolutely perfect! I can practically taste how soft and squishy they are. Thanks for sharing!
    Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste’s last post: Red, White and Blue Desserts

  19. These look fabulous, Aimee… Now I want to make some sausages on the grill. I love homemade rolls so much more than storebought, and I love that these ones are whole wheat!
    Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction’s last post: No Knead Parmesan Herb Focaccia

  20. The husband was just complaining about me not making whole wheat hot dog rolls for grilling! You are a mind reader!! And OMG the campfire burritos are such a good idea!!!
    stephchows’s last post: Thick chewy bad for you cookies

  21. Where does one find whole wheat bread flour? I’m not sure I’ve seen it before. I live in Canada too.
    Julia’s last post: Focaccia Bread Meets Green Bean Casserole: A Dairy-Free Recipe

  22. Hi Aimee, at the risk of being repetitive, I have to agree with all the positive comments about your lovely recipe…and you have been very kind in giving us such detailed instructions on how to make them! I rate this as 5 stars!
    Jen’s last post: LG 42LS3400 – How Does This TV Rate?

  23. I was JUST saying to myself that it would be really nice to make my own hotdog buns (I, too, shy away from the super-white wonderbready ones in the store), and as usual Simple Bites has come to the rescue! I can’t get enough of this blog :)

  24. Christina says:

    thanks! this looks awesome. as I do not like the overly processed white-bread store-bought buns, but my husband can’t stand the whole-wheat buns I have found, they are kind of hard to chew in addition to being more expensive. so I will be sure to try. and I was just wondering if this could freeze well when I saw the note at the bottom. perfect.

  25. Perfection! Will definitely be trying them!
    Tracy’s last post: Green Mountain Naturals Lemonade Giveaway

  26. Thanks so much for the idea. The way these are shaped will help me with a gluten free recipe I’m working on perfecting. Thanks again!
    Carla @ Gluten Free Recipe Box’s last post: Strawberry Sauce

  27. Jennifer says:

    These look delicious. Do you think it would be possible to soak the mixture overnight, or at some step in the making let it soak overnight before adding the rest???

  28. Kristin says:

    I had been using a different recipe and my husband really didn’t like them because they were too dense. Until now, I had no other option. Just finished a batch last night and they were so light and tasty. Thanks so much!

  29. We love baseball and really enjoy eating hot dogs and burgers while we watch (my husband especially). I need to make these buns!
    Rachel (De Ma Cuisine)’s last post: Gimme Those Tomatoes! – Episode 72

  30. Oh wow, these look so perfect! I love making home made bread, I will have to save this recipe for sure :)

  31. Is there any way you can add photos of the dough in different stages to this post? I have made this three times so far, and end up adding at least a cup more additional flour to achieve anything remotely resembling dough rather than batter. They still taste great, but I just cannot make that leap of faith that the incredibly sticky batter will turn to a dough that can be handled and shaped by the end of the first rise. I also find that the size of the shaped rolls is far too small for the smokies we use, so I make 8 instead of 12, or 8 hamburger buns.

    I can’t find anything in the comments from someone who has actually made these, so now I’m wondering if there is a typo in the recipe, or if it is just me. The current batch has an extra cup of flour and is still exceptionally soft and sticky, almost like a sourdough sponge. I would describe it as elastic, but definitely not smooth. Before I added the extra flour it was like a sticky web. When I added the flour it began to leave the sides of the bowl, but not the bottom. So it is still much softer than any other bread/roll dough I have used and compares more closely to a drop biscuit dough. Is that what it should be like?

    • Hi Karen,

      Nope, there’s no typo, but yes, the batter IS wet. My WW Bread flour may be more absorbent than what you are using as well. Before the first rising, it could be compared to a drop biscuit dough, yes. But after that rest, it is looking more normal. ;) I flour everything liberally when shaping (8 sounds smart) and they yield a very soft bun.

      Thanks for your question and comment and happy baking.

      • Thanks for such a quick response, and reassurance that I’m not doing anything wrong, other than adding the extra flour. I’ll give it another shot without extra flour now that I know for sure that I am getting the right results. I live in a semi-arid climate without air conditioning, so am pretty sure any flour in the house is as absorbent as it can get, which is partly why I was concerned. If anything I expect to use less flour than would be needed in places with any humidity at all. We love the flavour of these and were very eager for whole wheat buns. Several of your recipes have made their way into our regular rotation – the maple poppyseed dressing being a particular favorite, and I intend to make the beet lava cakes as soon as the beets are ready in the garden. So I really didn’t want to let this one go yet. Thanks again,

  32. Do you think these could be mixed in a bread maker? I would swap the yeast for instant (at the correct ratio).

  33. Hi Aimee! i’ve just made these beautiful buns, they are in the 45 min. pre oven phase right now, but I wanted to ask you if I could freeze the 8 buns left in raw, instead of cook them and freeze them?. In that case separated and wrapped in plastic? thanks!

  34. Hi Aimee! i’ve just made these beautiful buns, they are in the 45 min. pre oven phase right now, but I wanted to ask you if I could freeze the 8 buns left in raw, instead of cook them and freeze them?. In that case separated and wrapped in plastic? thanks for sharing the recipe :)

    • Hi Patricia, I wouldn’t really freeze them raw, but I don’t have much experience with freezing dough. I doubt they would hold their shape…..
      Why not bake and then freeze?

  35. Love this recipe! Have made it twice now and everyone loves them, the healthy brigade and also my kids who are not fans of healthy food! I made the dough in my bread maker on the dough setting. I had to add an extra half cup of whole wheat flour and they came out perfectly, I also substituted honey for the sugar the second time. Love these!

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