The buns, used for hot dogs and for the classic presentation of the lobster roll is a split top affair, cut from a loaf. This means that most of them have crust at the top and bottom. The sides are soft.
What I liked about the buns right of the bat was that they were less spongey and more substantial than regular buns. What I didn't like was that you can't find them in California.
That's why I was pleased when I noticed recently that USA pans has come out with a baking pan that allows the home baker to make them. Pleased, not just because I would have a chance to make these buns at home, but because it was this company that chose to make them. USA makes very nice, sturdy pans that are a pleasure to use. [ I used to think a pan was just a pan. About this as with many other things in life, I was mistaken.]
I made my first batch recently. I was not disappointed.
I won't go into detail here. As with most recipes, it has been documented with more detail and style than I could ever muster.
In this case, I encourage you to look at P J Hamel's excellent post on the King Arthur Flour blog, Flourish.
My only comment would be that the recipe they use is a bit fussy. I used the same procedure, but used this more basic recipe:
3/4 to 1 cup lukewarm water
2 tablespoons butter
1 large egg
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
|1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients—by hand, mixer, or bread machine—to make a soft, smooth dough.|
|2) Cover the dough, and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it's doubled in bulk.|
|3) Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a round 1" thick (more or less); flatten to about 3" across. Place the buns on a lightly greased baking sheet, cover, and let rise for about an hour, until very puffy.|
|4) If desired, brush buns with melted butter. Or brush lightly with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water), and sprinkle with sesame seeds.|
|5) Bake the buns in a preheated 375°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes, till golden. Cool on a rack.|