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Sourdough Hotdog Buns

Take your BBQ to the next level with these Sourdough Hotdog Buns! They’re soft and delicious with that lovely sourdough tang.

A stack of homemade sourdough hotdog buns on a black wire cooling rack with a linen napkin off to the side.

If you’re looking to up your hot dog game, why not try your hand at making your own sourdough hotdog buns?!

Yes, store-bought buns are convenient, but they’re usually lacking in flavor. 

Not so with these tangy, fermented buns!

They’re made with a few simple ingredients, and NO commercial yeast!

Video Tutorial:


Here’s a video tutorial in case you prefer to learn by watching. The full written tutorial is below!


All of the ingredients needed to make sourdough hotdog buns laid out on a white countertop.

Here are the simple ingredients you’ll need. The precise measurements will be in the recipe card at the end of this post!

  • Sourdough Starter: This recipe works best with an active starter (also know as a mature or ripe sourdough starter), NOT sourdough discard. I’ll discuss that more below!
  • All-Purpose Flour: I like to use all AP flour instead of adding bread flour, but feel free to experiment with different types of flour! I have not personally tried it, but you could probably safely substitute half whole wheat flour.
  • Milk: For a rich dough, use milk for the liquid!
  • Butter: And to make it even richer, you’ll be adding some butter! I use salted butter, so you’ll want to increase the salt a bit if you use unsalted butter. I’m sure you could also substitute coconut, avocado, or olive oil, but the flavor will be different of course. 
  • Eggs: The final way you’re going to “enrich” the dough is by using eggs. You’ll use 1 whole egg plus 1 yolk, and save the white for later.
  • Salt: I use unrefined sea salt, so keep that in mind: you may want to decrease the amount slightly if you use regular table salt.
  • Honey: I like to add a bit of sweetness to my hotdog buns, and honey is perfect! Of course you can substitute a sweetener of your choice if you prefer.

A word about sourdough starter…

A jar of active sourdough starter.

This recipe uses an active sourdough starter, which is one that’s been fed 4-12 hours previously, has doubled in volume, is active and bubbly, and passes the float test.

You want to use your starter when it has just doubled, or a little bit after.

I keep my sourdough starter at 100% hydration, which means I feed it equal weights, not volumes, of flour and water. 

If you keep your starter at a different hydration percentage, make sure to feed it at 100% hydration for this recipe.

Here’s my sourdough starter troubleshooting article in case you have any more questions!

And if you don’t have a sourdough starter just yet, check out my How to Make a Sourdough Starter from Scratch tutorial!

Mixing the Dough:

Measuring the temperature of the butter and milk.

Melt the butter over the stove in a small saucepan. After the butter is melted, pour the milk on top to warm it up.

Pour the butter/milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. 

Make sure the mixture cools to at least 105 degrees F (40 Celsius) before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Pouring the sourdough starter on top of the butter/milk mixture.

After the mixture has cooled, pour the sourdough starter on top. 

I like to weigh the sourdough starter, because it saves a measuring cup having to be washed!

A stand mixer with the dough ingredients in it, with the extra egg white in a small glass container off to the side.

Place the remaining ingredients on top of the milk/butter/starter mixture.

Make sure to save the egg white from the extra yolk – you’ll be using it for the egg wash later!

Kneading the Dough:

The dough when it's first being kneaded.

Now place the stand mixer bowl onto the base and fit it with the dough hook attachment.

Knead on medium low (2 on my machine) for 10-15 minutes.

The dough will start out quite shaggy…

The dough when it's finished kneading.

But when it’s fully kneaded it will be smoother and stick together more.

First Rise/Bulk Fermentation:

A diptych showing before and after the first rise.

Place the dough in a greased container and cover.

I like to use a lidded container, but you could also just use a bowl covered with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap.

Allow to ferment for 4-12 hours.

Your kitchen temperature (and therefore the dough temperature) will greatly affect rise times!

Performing the poke test to see if the dough is done fermenting.

You can either ferment the dough until it has doubled in volume, or you can perform the poke test.

To perform the poke test: gently poke your finger into the risen dough. If it slowly springs back and doesn’t quite fill in, it’s done fermenting.

But, if it springs back really quickly, and completely fills in, it’s not done proofing yet.

And if it doesn’t spring back at all, it’s most likely over proofed and you need to move to the next step as soon as possible!

How to Shape Hotdog Buns:

Weighing all of the dough.

If you want really uniform buns, start by weighing all of your dough. Mine was around 1033 grams total. 

Now divide that weight by the number of hotdog buns you want to make. 

You can do 9 to 12 buns. Obviously if you do 9 the final buns will be larger.

For Smaller Hotdog Buns:

A photo collage showing the first four steps of forming sourdough hotdog buns.

  1. Start by dividing the dough into 9 or 12 equal pieces. You can weigh each ball of dough for the most uniform hot dog rolls. For 12 hotdog buns, that came out to about 86 grams per bun.
  2. Pull the corners of one of the dough pieces towards the center to start shaping a ball.
  3. Place the piece of dough seam side down and cup your hands around the piece of dough and roll it along the counter to create surface tension.
  4. Allow the balls of dough to rest on the counter for 10-15 minutes.

You can skip steps 2-4 (the pre-shaping) if you like. It helps to create more uniform hotdog buns, but it’s not necessary!

A photo collage showing steps 5-8 of forming sourdough hotdog buns.

5. Flatten a dough ball into a rectangle that’s about 5 inches long.
6. Grab the top long edge and pull it towards the middle.
7. Use the side of your hand to secure the edge to the middle.
8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 with the bottom edge.

If at any time the dough starts to stick to the counter too much, you can grease it with oil or butter.

A photo collage showing the final steps of forming sourdough hotdog buns.

9. Tuck the ends in and seal.
10. Grab the edges and pull them towards the middle, pinching to seal.
11. Flip the dough over and push the sides under with your hands, creating more surface tension.
12. Arrange the shaped buns close together but not touching on a greased baking sheet. I’m sure you could also line the baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

For Larger Hotdog Buns:

The formed hotdog buns in a 9x13-inch pan.

If you want larger hotdog buns, you can divide the dough into 9 pieces and place the formed buns in a greased 13×9-inch baking pan.

I did 7 next to each other along the bottom, and 2 on top.

Second Rise:

Brushing the risen hotdog buns with an egg wash.

Cover the buns with a clean kitchen towel and allow to rise in a warm spot until doubled.

About half an our before the buns are done rising, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 Celsius).

Brush the tops of the buns with the extra egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of water.

Baking Time:

The hotdog buns baked in a 9x13-inch pan.

The larger sourdough hotdog buns baked in a 13×9-inch pan.

Bake the buns in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they’re deep golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 200 degrees F (93 degrees C).

The baked hotdog buns in the sheet pan.

The smaller hotdog buns baked on a jelly roll pan.

Here’s what the smaller buns look like when they’re done baking.


Pulling apart the cooled sourdough hotdog buns.

Immediately remove the buns to a wire cooling rack and cool until at least warm before slicing.

How to Slice a Homemade Hotdog Bun:

Slicing the hotdog bun sideways or horizontally.

You can go the traditional route and simply slice the hotdog buns in half horizontally. 

Slicing the homemade hotdog bun down the middle, or vertically.

Or you can slice the buns down the middle (vertically).

I learned this method (and also the idea to preform the buns) from watching a Claire Saffitz video.


A sourdough hotdog bun with a brat inside with ketchup, mustard, and relish on top.

Of course you can serve these while they’re still warm.

But if you won’t be serving them fresh, you can always toast them up and spread with a bit of butter.


A stack of homemade sourdough hotdog buns on a black wire cooling rack with a linen napkin off to the side.

If you’re planning on eating your homemade hotdog buns within a day or two after baking them, it’s safe to store them in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can store them for a week or so in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but they will tend to dry out.

For longer term storage, you can wrap them well and place them in the freezer. They should last for a month or two.

By the way, if you have leftover buns you can make French toast casserole with them!


How to Get Soft Hotdog Buns:

A stack of homemade sourdough hotdog buns on a black wire cooling rack with a linen napkin off to the side.

There are a few factors that will affect the softness of your homemade hotdog buns:

  • If you add butter, milk, and eggs to the dough, this will help to keep the crumb soft.
  • Also, if your dough is on the softer, wet side, the final hotdog buns will be softer and lighter.
  • It’s also important to use a strong, active start at peak fermentation for the most fluffy buns. A weak starter will have a harder time properly fermenting and raising the buns.


Now that you know how to make these scrumptious sourdough hot dog buns, your next cookout will be even more tasty!

In the meantime, here are some more sourdough recipes perfect for summer:

More Summer Sourdough Recipes:



Recipe Card:

Yield: 9-12 buns

Sourdough Hotdog Buns

A stack of homemade sourdough hotdog buns on a black wire cooling rack with a linen napkin off to the side.

Learn how to make some deliciously tangy sourdough hot dog buns at home!

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Fermenting Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 5 minutes


  • 1/4 cup salted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup whole milk, warmed to no more than 105°F (40°C) - see note
  • 1 cup active sourdough starter (220 grams) - see note
  • 3 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour (465 grams)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 large egg + 1 yolk (save white)
  • 1 1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
  • 1 egg white + 1 tsp water for egg wash


    1. Place all dough ingredients in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Mix until a rough dough forms. Continue to knead on medium-low speed until the dough is quite elastic, about 10-15 minutes. Resist the urge to add a lot more flour - you want the dough to be very soft.
    2. Transfer the dough to a large buttered or oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise at room temperature for 6-12 hours, or until doubled.
    3. Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 9 to 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a 5 inch long log - see post above for forming instructions. Place in a buttered 13x9-inch baking dish if you did 9 buns, and a baking sheet if you did 12 buns (see note).
    4. Cover the pan and allow to rise at room temperature for 6-8 hours, or until the rolls are quite puffy.
    5. 30 minutes before you plan on baking the rolls, preheat your oven to 375° F. Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash.
    6. Bake the buns for 20-25 minutes, or until they're deep golden brown and register 200° F when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the center of a roll.
    7. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.


  • I like to melt the butter in a small saucepan, then pour the cold milk on top to warm it. Make sure the milk cools down to at least 105°F (40°C) before adding the sourdough starter or it might kill the beneficial yeast!
  • An active starter is one that's been fed 4-12 hours previously, has doubled in volume, and is active and bubbly.
  • I keep my starter at 100% hydration.
  • If you make 9 larger buns in a 13x9-inch pan, place 7 along the bottom and 2 on top. If you make 12 smaller buns, place them close together but not touching on a baking sheet in 2 rows.

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Nutrition Information:



Amount Per Serving: Calories: 295Total Fat: 6.7gSaturated Fat: 3.7gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 409mgCarbohydrates: 50gFiber: 2gSugar: 8gProtein: 8g

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Thursday 4th of July 2024

Is the hydration on these buns correct? 48.71% I've had them proofing for 12 hr and boy is that dough stiff. I did figure in the % water in the 100% hydration starter.

Grams Bakers % Butter 58 1.82% Milk 90 13.62% Starter 220 19.13% Flour AP 465 0.00% Honey 85 2.66% Egg 85 10.94% Salt 9 0.00%

Total 48.17

Erica Kastner

Thursday 4th of July 2024

Hi Craig, my baker's percentage calculation skills are a little rusty, but I'm getting around 73%-74% hydration. I count half of the weight of the starter as part of the flour, and half as part of the hydration. Did your dough start off quite stiff? One of the frustrating things about sourdough is you can weigh everything perfectly, but your environment can still affect the final result. So you kinda have to go by looks as well as weighing. If your dough seems a lot stiffer than mine, you'll need to adjust the amount of milk you use. And if the dough seems really really wet, you'll need to add a bit more flour.

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