On 3/15/2023 at 5:34 PM, Midlife said:
is there a brand of hotdog buns, sold in major supermarkets (or available on line) that I should look for?
Science has yet to invent a dough conditioner that will prolong the life of bread indefinitely. But they can keep bread from spoiling for quite a long time. This being said, regardless of additives, given enough time, all breads stale, and supermarket hot dog rolls are no exception.
When I'm looking for a bun, brand plays a role, but, the freshness date tends to be of greater importance. I can't speak for today, but, when I was a child, NY hot dog carts had a distribution channel that allowed them to sell buns that were baked in close proximity to when they were served. When I'm standing in front of the buns at the supermarket, I'm looking for dates that will hopefully get me something that was baked the night before. This isn't easy, and I don't think dates are standardized between brands, so you can't just pick the best date of all the brands and be assured of the freshest product, but, whenever possible, I strive for something that's right off the truck. I find that when I shop, regardless of whether or not I'm buying buns, I take a quick look at the dates. I do the same with Entenmann's
As far as brands go... it's important to remember that flour costs money, so the budget/private label bakers go to great lengths to achieve max volume- which, in return, produces a very fragile and overly airy end product. You get what you pay for, so don't cheap out. Personally, I'm pretty fond of Arnold's potato rolls, but that could be regional, and there's a pretty strong subjective aspect to it.
Regardless of what bun you go with, steaming is critical, imo. If I get a fresh bun, I'll typically bring the hot dogs to a boil, bun them, and then put them in a foil envelope for a bit to allow the buns to steam. If the buns are a bit older, I might lightly mist them with water, wrap them in foil and toss them in a warm oven for a bit. Water is tricky, though, since it tends to make the outer layer of the bun stick to the foil. If you're careful with the mist, and have a good sprayer (one that isn't clogged), you can avoid the wetness that causes sticking. I've played around a little with wetting the buns and then letting them sit for a bit try to let them absorb the moisture, but, so far, I've gotten mixed results. Really, the easiest approach is to start with a fresh bun.