These tasty New England style rolls are perfect for making lobster, clam, and scallop rolls, and are sold only in New England. Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts Restaurants and Clam Shacks all up and down the coast use these delicious rolls with high sides, that you can butter and grill for the BEST "Roll" ever! They are also GREAT steamed for hot dogs and great on the grill toasted for dogs, sausages or brats. Rich in eggs and butter, this dough is soft and tender and does not require excessive kneading. It is easy to make by hand and even easier if you have an electric mixer with a dough hook. FYI: Keep in mind that you can shape these yourself and not use the pan, but they won't come out nearly as high on the sides or as uniform in shape as they are supposed to. You can buy a New England Hot Dog Roll Pan at: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/classic-new-england-hotdog-bun-pan. (This new pan makes 10 rolls) Preparation time includes time for the dough to rise.
- Combine the yeast and sugar with 1/4 cup of the warm water in a large bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer. Let stand for 5-10 minutes until the mixture becomes frothy. This allows the yeast to "bloom.".
- Add the salt and flour.
- Lightly beat 2 of the eggs with the milk and add this mixture to the bowl.
- Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter, and add this as well.
- Have the remaining 1/4 cup warm water ready.
- If you are mixing by hand, add some of the water and begin to mix, adding the water as needed.
- If using an electric mixer, attach the dough hook and jog the machine (turn it on and off) until the dough begins to form. This prevents the flour from jumping out of the mixing bowl.
- Add the remaining warm water as needed. The dough usually takes the full amount.
- When a soft dough has formed, knead for 5 minutes by machine, or about 8 minutes by hand.
- This is a soft bread and does not require as much kneading as chewier types. The finished dough should be soft but dense, and should not be sticky.
- Shape the dough into a ball and lightly oil it with the salad oil. Place it in a large bowl.
- Cover with plastic wrap or a slightly damp towel, and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in bulk.
- Punch the dough down and move to a work surface. Lightly dust the work surface with flour.
- Shape the dough into a square.
- Using a knife, cut the dough into 13 equal pieces. This is best done by cutting 12 pieces and using scraps to make the thirteenth. If there is not enough dough for the thirteenth piece steal a little pinch off the others.
- With the remaining 1 tablespoon butter, lightly grease a baking sheet that is at least 15" long.
- Shape the dough into uniform 7" long tubular pieces, (or buy a New England Hot Dog Roll pan from the site above). It is important that all the pieces be the same length.
- Place the tube in a line, side by side, down the center of the baking sheet, leaving a 1/2" gap between them.
- Put the pan in a warm place, and let rise a second time.
- Prepare a thick egg wash by mixing the remaining egg with 2 tablespoons water.
- After 15-20 minutes, the tubes of dough will have risen enough that they will be touching.
- Generously brush the tubes with egg wash, return the pan to the warm spot, and let the dough rise until almost doubled in size, 10-15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Place the buns in the oven, and bake for about 30 minutes, until deep golden brown.
- Let the buns cool on the baking sheet for at least 15 minutes, then run a spatula under them to make sure they are not sticking to the pan.
- Using 1 or 2 spatulas, carefully lift the baked dough in one piece onto a rack to cool. It is crucial that you NOT let the buns break or tear apart.
- After 1 hour, when the baked dough is completely cooled, move it in one piece to a cutting board.
- Using a serrated knife, slice down the center of each tube. You will lose half a tube on each end (which is why you need 13 tubes to make 12 buns). The place where the tubes met is now the center of each bun.
- They will open naturally when it comes time to stuff them, but you can make a small incision to ensure that this happens.
- Wrap the buns in plastic wrap until ready to use. If you do not intend to use all 12 buns, freeze the extras, and defrost when needed.
- To infuse the dough with the delicate flavor of saffron, chop 1 teaspoon saffron threads and add to 1/4 cup water in a small pan.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over med-high heat, then remove from the heat.
- Let cool to lukewarm, and substitute for the 1/4 cup water added for mixing.
- Since the dough will be golden to start with, look for a dark brown top before removing from the oven.