What says summer to you? Lemonade? Barbecue? Swimming pools? Gin and tonics? Our apartment doesn’t have sprinkler systems on the balconies so we can’t grill at home. After an awesome backyard cookout on my last night in Minneapolis (thanks, Spencers!) I had a hankering for more summer meals.
After a gray and cloudy start to the season in California it was nice to have a week in verdant, humid Minnesota to get me in that summer mood. We’re back to gray today, but yesterday was sunny and warm. It made for a perfect quick trip to the local farmer’s market where we bought ripe peaches for snacking and three ears of corn.
My husband isn’t as big a fan of corn on the cob as I am, so we had to negotiate a main dish to go with it. My original suggestion of veggie burgers was accepted until I realized that I didn’t have any cooked beans.
What we did have was a package of Light Life Italian-style veggie sausages in the freezer; they’re pretty good in the realm of fake meats. The sodium content is a bit high so I wouldn’t eat a lot of them, but it’s a nice treat once in a while. Veggie burgers I can handle, I’m not sure I’m ready to start making my own fake hot dogs… yet.
What wasn’t in the freezer, however, was hot dog buns.
Other than the buns this is a super quick meal, so I didn’t want to spend ages baking before we got to eat. The flip side is that I wanted to make them mostly whole wheat which generally takes more time to achieve properly. The compromise was using half whole wheat flour and half bread flour. The bread flour compensates for the whole wheat by adding some extra gluten to yield a nice pillowy bun. The other modification I made was to make the buns dairy-free.
We sat down to dinner just over 2 hours later: veggie sausages, corn, melon from the CSA, and a refreshing gin and tonic. That’s not bad considering I made the buns from scratch and they turned out delicious. When we had leftovers for lunch today the whole meal took 10 minutes total, and that included boiling the water for corn.
The whole meal tasted even better after reading all the amazing comments, emails, and Tweets I received yesterday. If I could hug you all, I would. Then I would feed you. Duh.
What’s your favorite summer meal? The night before this dinner we had my other summer staple: caprese salad. Tonight we’re having that same awesome combo on pizza. Yum.
Submitted to YeastSpotting, a weekly bread round up.
Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yields 8 buns
The buns were a little wide, so next time I might divide the dough into 10 pieces just to see how that works. For hamburger buns follow the shaping steps here.
- 6-8 ounces (3/4-1 cup) lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
- 7 ounces (1 1/2 cups) whole wheat flour
- 7 3/4 ounces (2 cups) unbleached bread flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) vegetable or olive oil
- 1 large egg
- Pour minimum amount of water in the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top. Add the rest of the ingredients in order listed and mix until combined. Knead with a dough hook or by hand until dough is smooth and supple. Dribble in more water as needed if dough feels stiff (this will depend on the humidity of where you live, but with this much wheat flour you will probably need to add more).
- Form dough into a smooth ball and cover. Let rise 45-60 minutes in a warm draft-free location until doubled in bulk.
- Gently deflate dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces. The easiest way to do this is to weigh the dough on a scale, divide the total by 8, and then weigh each piece (I recommend using grams if possible). Form each piece of dough into a torpedo and gently stretch to about 6 inches long. Place the dough on a parchment-lined or lightly-oiled baking sheet, each piece about 2 inches apart.
- Cover buns with a clean towel and let rise another 45-60 minutes until puffy. Preheat oven to 375F.
- Bake buns at 375F for 12-15 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack before slicing.
Keep up with Little Blue Hen: get updates via email, subscribe through an RSS feed, connect on Facebook, or say hello on Twitter.
Comments? I love feedback and suggestions! Leave them below or email me.