December 18, 2012


Asian style pig in a blanket with a soft and  fluffy sweet bun...just like the ones in Chinatown. I can now have some when I want without having to go to Chinatown!

Asian Sweet Roll Pig in a Blanket, six hot dog buns, white platter, grey background
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My son is going to love me when he comes home tonight! We have always bought sweet hot dog buns from the bakeries in Chinatown. I never thought I could duplicate them at home. At last, the day has come. I made these beauties tonight! Houston, we have touchdown!

My son has always loved the Asian hot dog buns. Ever since he was a little child, my husband and I would always bring some home for him every time went to Chinatown. What makes them different than regular pigs in a blanket is the bun. They are unmistakably softer, fluffier, and sweeter.

For a mock version of the recipe, you can always add sugar (up to one third cup of sugar for 3 cups of flour used) to any soft dinner roll recipe and wrap it around a hot dog (which I have done before). While it is good, it is not the same. To really experience the uniqueness of Asian style bun, the dough needs to be made using a secret ingredient.  The result is completely worth the little bit of effort.

What makes the hot dog bun different is the tangzhong. It is basically a flour and water roux. Adding it to the dough creates an exceptionally soft bread. The recipe below is a combination of two recipes I found; one from Instructables by sauwen and the other from i am a foodblog

The recipe might seem complex at first, but it is not. Take it from someone who attempted handmade yeast bread only a handful of times in her life. It is time consuming only in that it involves quite a bit of resting time, but it is not as labor intensive as it seems.

The best part, all of the mixing is done in the stand mixer. No shoulder aching, back breaking, hand kneading required!

Asian Sweet Roll Pig in a Blanket, six hot dog buns, white platter, grey background

To begin the whole process, the tangzhong needs to be made. This is the secret sauce that turns a regular bun into something wonderful.

cooking tangzhong

This is the desired consistency. The mixture should leave an indentation that does not fall into itself when a spoon is dragged through it.

spoon dragging through tangzhong to check for consistency

For the dough, wet and dry ingredients are incorporated and mixed together (no butter).

flour and eggs in a mixing bowl

The butter is added when the dough gets to this point.

sticky dough in a mixing bowl

The finished dough is slightly sticky. It should make a round hole when poked with a finger. If the hole doesn’t hold its shape, knead it for a minute or two and repeat the hole test.

bread dough on a mixing hook in a bowl

stretched out dough with a hole in the center

Time to proof  until doubled in size.

dough in a bowl

Divide dough to six pieces and back for a quick 15 minutes proof.

six balls of dough proofing

Next, wrapped up and ready for the final proof.

hot dogs wrapped in dough

Make them pretty with a brush of egg wash before baking.

hot dog, wrapped in dough and egg washed

Gorgeous little piggies straight from the oven!

Asian Sweet Roll Pig in a Blanket on a baking sheet

A little taste of Chinatown at home!  Made with love from the best mom ever…tonight!




1/3 cup bread flour
1 cup water

2 1/2 cups bread flour
4 tbsp. sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup tangzhong, room temperature
2 tsp. instant yeast
3 tbsp. butter (cut into several pieces at room temperature)
6 hot dogs
1 egg (whisked to use for egg wash)


Whisk flour and water in a saucepan to combine and remove lumps. Place on stovetop and whisk over medium heat, until the mixture thickens. At around the five minute mark, the mixture begins to quickly thicken. At this point, whisk constantly to avoid formation of lumps. For the next 2 to 3 minutes periodically take the pan off the heat and drag a spoon through the mixture. If it leaves lines or swirls in the mixture that does not fall into itself, it is done. Remove from heat. Allow to come to room temperature. Unused tangzhong can be kept in the refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, for up to three days.

In a stand mixer affixed with a dough hook, combine the dry ingredients for the bread. Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the milk, egg, and tangzhong. Mix until the dough comes together. Add butter. Knead on level 2 or 4 for at least 10 minutes. The sound of dough slapping up against the bowl is an indicator that it is getting close to being ready.

Spray hands with cooking spray before handling. Gently stretch dough with your hands. Properly kneaded dough should form a membrane. Poke membrane with a finger. If the hole forms a circle, the dough is ready. If the hole is irregularly shaped, return to the mixer and knead for a minute or so.  Repeat the hole test. 

Form dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl to proof. Cover with a plastic wrap and let stand in a warm, non drafty area for 45 minutes.

Spray hands with cooking spray. Working in the bowl, punch down on the dough a few times and knead the palms of your hands for one minute to expel any gas. 

Divide into six equal parts and stretch dough to slightly elongate. Place on a greased flat surface. Cover with a greased plastic wrap and allow to rise again for 15 minutes.

Stretch dough to 2.5x times the length of the hotdog. Wrap dough around each hot dog. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Cover with a greased plastic wrap and allow to proof until it doubles in size, about 45 minutes. 

Whisk a couple teaspoons of water and an egg until well blended. Brush over buns. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Note:  Refrigerated hot dog buns are best served warmed in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.

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