Introduction: Asian Hot Dog Buns

Picture of Asian Hot Dog Buns

This is a recipe that is loved by my family and is great for a simple and tasty lunch or snack. The soft and fluffy dough is slightly sweet which greatly complements the savory bite of the hot dog.  It is very similar to a pastry you may find at your local Asian bread store, but made fresh to order and can save you quite a penny.

You may find that the dough is pretty big when it proofs to yield 6 buns. I personally think the volume of bread versus hot dog is perfect, but you can possibly split the dough to yield more than 6 buns. Baking time will differ, of course, so keep a close eye on the bread. From my experience though, this dough is very forgiving.

Step 1: Create the Tang Zhong

Picture of Create the Tang Zhong

This water-roux starter is the secret ingredient to creating super soft bread that lasts for days without adding any unhealthy additives or conditioners.  To create this, do the following:

1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water

The ingredients will always have a weight ratio of 1:5. I like using the designated amounts above because it is easy to remember. Mix the ingredients in a pot and heat up. Keep mixing the lumps away. Once the mixture reaches 65 deg C, it will quickly get the the point where the mixture thickens up and you should be able to create indentations that will stay as shown in the image. You can eye-ball this or use a cooking thermometer to check.  Take the pot off the heat and let it cool.  Store it in the fridge overnight with a piece of saran wrap directly on top to avoid drying out. The tang zhong will be good for about 3 days, but make a new batch if it turns grey.

This method was first published by Yvonne Chen's in Bread Doctor. For more information, check out the book here.

Step 2: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

You will need the following ingredients:

2 ½ cups bread flour
3 tbsp and 2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup milk
120 g tang zhong
2 tsp instant yeast
3 tbsp butter (cut into small pieces at room temperature)

6 hot dogs
1 egg used for egg wash

(You will need the top list for the dough kneading, and the last two ingredients for the final steps of this recipe. Hence, the hot dog and egg wash isn't shown in the image here. ^^;)

Step 3: Kneading

Picture of Kneading

Combine the flour, sugar, salt and instant yeast. I strongly recommend using a bread machine or dough mixer to knead the dough because it will be a very wet dough and will make kneading by hand difficult. You can still do it by hand, but will of course take more effort.  Some people like this to get stress out.  (I used to do this but got lazy. :) )

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add in the milk, egg and tang zhong. Mix and knead until your dough comes together and then add in the butter and continue the kneading process.  Kneading will take approximately 20 minutes by bread machine and 30 minutes by hand.

Step 4: Checking the Dough

Picture of Checking the Dough

To test your dough to see if it has been kneaded properly, gently stretch a portion of dough out.  If it breaks with a clean and round hole, it is ready for the next step: proofing.

Step 5: Proof the Dough

Picture of Proof the Dough

Move the dough into a oiled bowl and cover with a saran wrap. Let it proof for approximately 50 minutes or until it has doubled in size.

Step 6: Prepare to Shape Dough

Picture of Prepare to Shape Dough

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and knead each piece briefly to punch out the gas.  Then stretch the dough into a long shape, cover in wrap and let it rest for 15 minutes.

Step 7: Twist Dough Around Hot Dog

Picture of Twist Dough Around Hot Dog

With each dough piece, stretch it to about 2.5x the length of the hot dog and twist it around the hot dog.  Let it proof for a second time for approximately 50 minutes again or until it has doubled in size.  Lightly brush an egg wash over the top of the dough and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Step 8: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!

Please enjoy!  These are best eaten fresh from the oven while the bread is at its softest.


serikaya (author)2015-06-12


ChristineT2 (author)2014-11-10


I'm from Singapore and tried your bread recipes 1st time and turn out well! Thanks! But can I confirmed with you that in total we need to rest the dough 3 times? Bcos i overlook your instruction and only rest the dough 2 times but it turn well too!

sauwen (author)ChristineT22014-11-10

Glad it came out good! There is a short intermediate step to rest the dough after splitting it into six long pieces which should help make it more elastic to spiral around the hot dog. So yes, it is recommended to rest 3 times, but 2 would not be bad as well.

lmcdermott2 (author)2014-06-09

What is 'tang zhong' as in the ingredient?

I cant find it anywhere?
What is it and where can i buy it?
Any replies would be greatly appreciated!! :)

sauwen (author)lmcdermott22014-06-09

Please see step 1 of this instructable for steps on how you can make it. ;-)

citizenomicron (author)2012-08-13

great recipe! what type of hot dog do you usually use?


sauwen (author)citizenomicron2012-08-13

Thanks! I like using the natural hot dogs without nitrates because it is a tad bit healthier than the normal ones. You can use whatever you like honesty. :) I recently tried out the Oscar Mayer Selects Angus and they are soo good and juicy.

beatyruth (author)2011-08-30

Does the tang zong in the first step equal the 120g needed in the second step--or does it need to be doubled or something?

sauwen (author)beatyruth2011-08-30

The first step produces more than enough for the 120g of tang zhong needed for this recipe. Sorry for the confusion.

jonquisition (author)2011-08-24

IT WAS DELICIOUS. Superb bakery-quality bread. Keep up the good work!

sauwen (author)jonquisition2011-08-24

:3 Thank you.

JTrilogy (author)2011-08-22

Do I have to keep it in the fridge overnight before step 2, or will just a few hours work?

sauwen (author)JTrilogy2011-08-22

I would recommend keeping it overnight because it lets the flour fully absorb the moisture of the water. Decreasing the time would probably still work, but results may not be the softest ( >u< )

JTrilogy (author)sauwen2011-08-22

Well I put it in the freezer for about an hour (probably not the best thing I could have done) but it was still delicious!

sauwen (author)JTrilogy2011-08-22

Hehe, glad it came out well!

spark master (author)2011-08-18

when the weather is cool again I will try this method. I do make bread through most of the year, but not now in NYC area too hot.

A simple method of making lighter bread is quite European and involves simple taking some of the water and flour and soaking the flour overnight (no heat) and making a "Mother" or 'Poolish" or yeast sponge with most of the rest of flour and water. You combine them like 2 part Epoxy and add the last little bit of flour and water (depending on how you hydrated things to start), you can rise them 1 time since they have had flavor developed by making the over night yeasted starter/sponge/mother/poolish. The soaked flour allows for best hydration and results in a finer loaf in general. Again you want a very soft dough which is hard to manage, but you could do in a stand mixer very easily

BTW I thought I discovered this little method (ha), since I never could make a nice rye loaf. I made a saur/mother then added some water to the rye flour and kept some white out of recipe sat it over night. in morning I mixed saur and rye soak together and added a tad more white flour , ( water by the teaspoon, or mister squeeze) knead till mixed ,allow to sit 5 mins reknead 3 mins shape /rise/ bake. Many years after I reinvented the wheel I found out my "idea" was at least a few hundred years old. Done all over Europe from Italy to Denmark and Manchester to Minsk.

I gotta try this one though actually cooking the stuff first sounds interesting kinda like Pate Choux......


Finally This needs BACON, BACON BACON BACON. Two strips interwoven with the braid w/without a hotdog mmmmmm bacon

thanks fer a gret post

sauwen (author)spark master2011-08-18

Oooh, gotta try out your method one day! Sounds interesting.

spark master (author)sauwen2011-08-19

Give it a whirl, youcan't screw it up, divide the H2O add yeast to some with salt and half the flour mix in allow to sponge up, over night or for a few days. You can do it in fridge for several days, just gets more sour. As long as no black or off smells its good to go. take other half of water and flour and mix in allow to sit out for a while knead it few times to really mix in the water, then cover (fridge is fine), over night is good, next day cut up the unyeasted sponge and add to the yeasted one then mix by hand or machine.

If you have a controlled sour dough , you will know the water % by weight, so you can easily scale (ounce or grams) the "mother" and know you need X more by weight, of flour water and salt. Other items like say nuts or poppy seeds are an extra added attraction.

One thing pizzerias do is never use fresh dough. You make the dough cut/scale it to size and put in a retarder, which is a controlled cold box. (refrigerator under the counter), you want dough to age 8 hours (absolute minimum is 5 hours for most recipes).

This does several things, 1) it makes taste as the yeast grows through the four water mixture, 2) it relaxes gluten in the dough enough to be very very stretchy util one can windowpane it, 3) allows the water and flour to thouroughly combine, which with the cold relaxing makes for a nice stretchier dough. For home bakers make pizza dough a day in advance, or if you cannot, make early in the morning before 6 knead 5 inutes rest 10, reknead 10 mins then rise an hour reknead a little 5 minutes, portion it, fridge it. 5 hours in cold fridge works wonders. Oil the balls or discs of dough before you fridge them, covered),

When you use it flour as little as possible and work fast if you have a marble it is nicer, but not madatory. Use good quality firebricks or red clay brick to line an oven full thickness bricks take 20-30 minutes to preheat. For thin pie oven is set to 550 or highest youcan get the oven, (here in usa, gas ovens go to 550, 287.777... Celcius). Hot brick cold food, uncooked sauce (always), 8 minutes to carbo heaven. mmmmmm

Oh I fergit,( sign of old age, that and gumming my food).

common clay bricks over time spall, that is they dry out or break down and crumble. Common cement will as well and much faster. For this use clay bricks are quite fine. I have fire brick, fire bricks are same size and approximate weight as a clay brick but made of other stuff, that will not break down by firings and will last for a few hundred year if not abraded(worn down by scratching with metal). There are 3 grades of fire brick (that I know of) you want the simpler one (cheaper) You can also buy firebricks that are insulator bricks they are useless to you, I believe they are light for their size, stone mason yard owners know what you want , just ask.

And BE PICKY, lay all the bricks you are going to buy on a piece of plywood or flat surface, take bricks that have best edge to edge profile AND no cracks. cracks will collect stuff and can be an issue later (shoudln't matter though), but bricks that do not lay flat or square lead to unevenness in cooking surface which if you are going to plop a pie right on them (i do), it can lead to mishaps if you need to touch the pie BEFORE it is quite ready to be turned. (dough can expand into the space and get stuck , you try to move it and walla torn pie and mess.

Last in house oven you can put a wall around th ebottom layer to add more mass. Each bit of mass requires more preheat, but hard core pizza fanatics (displace NY'er of a certain age in place like pizzaless Enid OK or Olive NY will do to try to recapture the taste of their youth. (both those cities are fine place to live, but not known for pizza).

sauwen (author)spark master2011-08-22

Carbo heaven indeed. Nom nom nom. ;)

johnnyoh (author)2011-08-21

GREAT recipe & idea!
I made these but divided the dough into 18. Rolled the loaves into long lengths of 6-8 inches and braided like challah. Proofed & baked individually with egg wash and black & white sesame seeds (poppy seeds work too for Chicago buns). Split like regular hot dog buns. They keep great and can be filled like a good ole American Hot Dog. Oh yeah! don't forget to use Vienna Beef dogs for the Snap!!

krysteanuh (author)2011-08-19

I used to buy one of these every morning from various bakeries across Chinatown in NYC. They are my absolute *favorite* breakfast food.
Thank you so much for posting this!

thelilshygirl (author)2011-08-18

looks yummy =]

MatthewEnderle (author)2011-08-18

we just call them "Pigs in a Blanket" and just use philsbery dough in the tube thinger and roll it around them...

sauwen (author)MatthewEnderle2011-08-18

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised of the difference in quality making bread fresh versus using frozen dough. ;)

haricot (author)2011-08-18

What is tang zhong? If I can't find it, is there a substitute? A note of explanation would have been helpful.

4thAce (author)haricot2011-08-18

It's what results from Step 1

haricot (author)4thAce2011-08-18

Thank you for setting me straight. This should teach me to read something thoroughly before making a comment. How embarrassing!


makecation (author)2011-08-18

What a great Instructable! I've been pondering for the longest time how the Asian bakery creates such a soft chewy bun. I can't wait to try this - I'm going to try substituting sliced turkey for the hot dogs.

aasif.faiz (author)2011-08-15

NICE!! im from srilanka and these are available here and i love em, now i can make em at home thnx!!! AWESOME INSTRUCTABLE!

tireswing (author)2011-08-14

I've never tried pre-gelatinizing a portion of the dough before although I've read about it. The previous info didn't have such nice photo documentation so there wasn't as much incentive. Thanks for helping me look forward to my next day off!

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