New England Hot Dog Rolls are long, leavened, unsweetened rolls with flat, white, crustless sides.
They can be used for hot dogs, or for sandwich rolls with fillings such as chicken, egg or, famously, lobster salad. They are used for Fenway Franks made at Fenway Park baseball park in Boston, Massachusetts.
While other types of hot dog rolls are sliced on one side, New England Hot Dog Rolls are top-sliced instead. Fans say this style of slice holds the fillings and hot dog toppings in better, because they don’t spill out of a slit in the side (forgetting perhaps that no one holds a hot dog sidewise, regardless of where the slit is.)
And while hot dog rolls are referred to as “buns” elsewhere in America, in New England they are called “rolls.”
However, some maintain the difference between a New England Hot Dog Roll and a Hot Dog Bun from elsewhere is more than just the name, the crustless sides, and the top-split. They feel that the crumb of the roll is just also a little bit denser and chewier. They say that some commercial ones such as Pepperidge Farms top sliced hot dog buns aren’t quite the same thing as a New England Hot Dog Roll: the Pepperidge Farms hot dog buns have crust on the sides, and the texture is too light.
For home-baking, you can get special pans that will make New England Hot Dog Rolls. The crustless sides come about because the rolls are packed into the pan, side by side. You top-split them after baking.
The buns are served either fresh, or buttered and toasted in a frying pan.
New England Hot Dog Rolls are popular in eastern Canada too. They are used in the classic Montreal Steamies, where they are steamed.
The sides can be buttered and browned on a griddle. Toast each buttered side about 3 minutes in a hot pan, then stand it for a minute on its bottom, then let it stand on its top for a minute.