Chinese Bakery Hot Dog Bao Rolls
My Chinese bakery hot dog bao rolls are my love letter to my favorite Hong Kong bakeries, especially those that I’ve visited even more frequently as a child. My absolute favorite bao (bread/bun) is undoubtedly the pineapple bun. With its crackly sweet and simple signature yellow topping on top of the fluffiest bread ever. It was my sister whose first request was always the hot dog bao.
Simple at its core, but oh so tasty, the Chinese bakery hot dog bao is a fan favorite for a reason! A slightly sweet super soft and fluffy bread twists around a single hot dog. The bread, browned perfectly in the oven is swept with a simple sugar syrup to finish it off and provide your taste buds with that perfectly sweet and savory combo in every bite!
I’ve taken some of my favorite parts of this Chinese bakery classic, and put my own spin on a creation that i’m quite proud (and fond) of! In come the Chinese bakery hot dog bao ROLLS!
What Makes These Rolls Special?
Tangzhong milk bread: for the softest and fluffiest bread that STAYS soft and fluffy, we will be making a “milk bread” with tangzhong! It’s such a simple step to add to any bread recipe!
THE SCALLIONS: Oh my, the scallions! My deep love (read: obsession) for Chinese scallion pancakes meant that I had to include them in this recipe! They’re just so aromatic and make everything even yummier! In my first attempts, I sprinkled raw scallions right onto the dough before rolling up. They didn’t lend much flavor to the rolls, and some even tasted a bit bitter. I FIXED THAT. By heating up a bit of vegetable and sesame oil, then tossing the sliced scallions in with a healthy amount of salt, cooking it just enough without browning them, we unlock those layers of aromatics and FLAVORS!
The Hot Dogs: In my few tests of this recipe, I’ve come to find that the best way to bring out the very best flavors of the hot dogs was to slice it up into coins and pre-cook it before rolling it up in my dough. This does a few things, it allows more flavor and a better texture from the hot dogs (no soggy rubbery hot dogs here please!), and it gets distributed throughout all the rolls, instead of just on hot dog in the middle! So yummy hot dogs in every bite!
The sugar simple syrup: Just like the Chinese bakery hot dog bao, we NEED to finish our rolls with that simple syrup! The second the rolls come out of the oven, we lightly brush them all with the easy concoction. You end up with beautifully shiny rolls that make your taste buds dance with joy! Trust me, where savory meets sweet is the place we wanna be!
What You’ll Need
Ingredients for Chinese Bakery Hot Dog Bao Rolls
- all purpose or bread flour
- granulated sugar
- instant yeast
- whole milk
- unsalted butter
- fresh scallion
- vegetable oil
- sesame oil
- kosher salt
- all-beef hot dogs
- honey (optional)
- toasted sesame seeds
How to Make Hot Dog Bao Rolls
Make Tangzhong for bread dough
In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and water, place over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Soon, the mixture will thicken to a mashed potato consistency. Remove from heat and let cool before using.
Make the milk bread dough
To make everything simpler, I use a stand mixer for this dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the dough hook attached, add flour, sugar, yeast, egg, milk, tangzhong, and cooled melted butter. Mix on lowest speed until a dough forms, then increase the speed a little and let the machine knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes. You want to end up with a dough that is smooth and elastic, clearing the sides of the bowl, but slightly sticking to the very bottom of the bowl.
Shape dough into a tight ball, then place it back into a greased bowl, covered, to double in size, about 1-2 hours.
Prep the filling (cook scallions and hot dogs)
While the dough is rising, prep the filling. Heat up veggie and sesame oil in a small frying pan. Toss in the scallions and salt, mixing to combine. Cook only until scallions are aromatic (a few minutes)– don’t brown or burn the scallions! Then, remove from heat and place scallions and all oil into a small bowl.
In the same frying pan over medium heat, cook hot dog coins, stirring frequently to brown the pieces, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, drizzle honey over hot dogs, and mix.
Assemble, Bake, + Finish
Punch down the dough, roll it out on a very lightly floured surface. Brush on the scallions and ALL the oil, even sprinkle the hot dog coins. Roll up in a tight roll and cut into 12 even pieces. Place into greased baking pan, cover, and let rise for another 30-45 minutes, until puffy and almost doubled in size.
Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and bake for about 30 minutes. Immediately brush on sugar syrup upon removing from oven. Let cool before enjoying!
A twist on a classic Chinese bakery favorite-- Hot Dog Bao Rolls! With aromatic scallions and a super fluffy bread dough, these rolls are delicious and irresistible!
- 1/4 cup (35g) all purpose or bread flour
- 3/4 cup (175g) water
for milk bread dough
- 3 cups (384g) all purpose or bread flour
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 2 tsp or 1 packet instant yeast
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup + 1 tbsp (97g) whole milk
- tangzhong from above, slightly cooled
- 4 tbsp (56g) unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
for scallion + hot dog filling
- 1 bunch (about 7 stalks) fresh scallions, sliced into small pieces
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp kosher salt (use slightly less if using regular salt)
- 3 all-beef hot dogs, sliced into 1/4 inch coins
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
for egg wash/topping/sugar syrup
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp milk or water
- 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Make Tangzhong for dough
- In a small saucepan, whisk together flour and water. Cook over low-medium heat, whisking constantly until it thickens and then becomes the consistency of mashed potatoes, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, place in another bowl, cover lightly with plastic and let cool slightly until it's not hot
Make the milk bread dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attachment, mix flour, sugar, and yeast together.
- In a small bowl, whisk egg and milk. Pour into the flour mixture. Add tangzhong as well, and start mixer on low. Slowly stream in melted butter. Turn the speed up one more notch and knead. Dough should come together and clear the sides of the bowl, but stick to the center of the bottom. If it seems too dry, add another tablespoon of milk.
- Knead dough for about 10-15 minutes, until its smooth and only slightly tacky. With oiled hands, removed dough from bowl and shape it into a tight ball by pulling the sides down and tucking it under and into the bottom of the ball. Oil the stand mixer bowl or another large bowl, rub some oil on top of the taut dough ball, and place into the oiled bowl. Cover with plastic and let rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Make filling (cook scallions and hot dogs)
- While the dough is rising, prepare filling. In a small frying pan over low-medium heat, heat up vegetable oil and sesame oil a bit. Then add finely sliced scallions, cooking only until scallions are aromatic-- don't brown or burn the scallions! Add salt, mix, and remove from heat and place scallions and all oil into a small bowl. set aside.
- In the same frying pan over medium heat, cook hot dog coins, stirring frequently to brown the pieces, about 3 minutes. Turn off heat, drizzle honey over hot dogs, and mix. Remove from heat and set aside.
Assemble + Bake
- With slightly floured hands, punch down the dough and place on a lightly floured surface (Don't use too much flour here, it helps to have the dough slightly adhere to the surface).
- Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Roll out dough until it's a roughly 18x12inch rectangle. Spoon the scallion AND all the oil evenly over the surface of the dough, spread out as best as possible, using a pastry brush if needed. Distribute the hot dog coins evenly. With the long side facing you, roll up the dough tightly, then lightly pinch the seams to seal lightly.
- Cut the dough log into 12 even pieces. (You can start by cutting the whole log into equal thirds, then cut each third in half, and cut each of those halves in half.) Place evenly into baking pan and cover with wet towel or plastic wrap.
- Let rolls rise for about 45 minutes, until almost doubled in size and puffy. While they are rising, preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a bowl, whisk together egg and water or milk. Gently brush the rolls with egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for about 30 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
- Make simple syrup by mixing hot water and sugar together. Brush on top of rolls immediately after removing from oven.
- Let cool and enjoy warm!
- Store in air tight container at room temperature for up to 2 days, then in the fridge. To reheat, place individual rolls in toaster oven for about 3 minutes.