As I mentioned in the prior post, I baked some brioche hamburger buns for my Rozella Burger. I grew up with generic white burger buns and the sesame seed-sprinkled variety. It wasn’t till the last few years when gastropubs started making an appearance that I tasted the awesomeness of a brioche burger bun. The chewy crust, the slight sweetness and butteriness, this quickly became my favored bun. Hence, when Burger Wars came up, I had to use brioche.
Initially, I was going to buy my buns but I couldn’t find a bakery near my home or work that carried them. Then it dawned on me…why not bake them myself? I wandered the vast expanse of the internet looking for a recipe. For days, I searched, calling out for my beloved brioche, catching fleeting glimpses of it, encountering others that I thought was it, only to discover, on closer inspection, it was not. Okay, not really, I just used Google and a few minutes later, found a recipe to try. The blog, A Bread a Day, had an adapted version of Comme Ça’s brioche bun recipe that the New York Times had originally printed. Score!
I decided it would be prudent of me to do a test run of this recipe. I made half a batch one night a week before the event. Let me tell you, this was a bit of a trial not because of the recipe but because of poor instructions on my food processor’s part. Husband bought me a super duper food processor, my first, and I finally decided to use it since it had a dough hook and I didn’t have a stand mixer (though I’d love to have one! *hint hint*). Anyways, I spent at least a half hour trying to figure out why the darn thing wouldn’t turn on! The lid ended up being backwards… ;P Something about a locking mechanism that pushes down on a safety release blahblahblah. Okay, it would have been awesome if the instruction manual had made ANY mention of this. Instead, it was absolutely devoid of anything remotely relating to how to attach the lid. Blah…but hooray for my problem solving skills!
Okay, back to the brioche. In all my frustration, I forgot the butter. Oops! I didn’t realize this till after I had made the buns. But magically, they came out awesome… So I guess if you want a “healthier” version, you can just omit the butter. Just don’t tell Paula Deen. I had very little complaint about these buns other than wishing the crust had just a little more pull and crustiness to it.
The day before the competition, I prepared a full batch, this time WITH the butter. I don’t know if it was because of the warmer weather but when I let them rise a 2nd time, they turned into super buns! But despite the huge size, they were light and not dense at all. They were a little more buttery tasting but other than that, there was very little difference between the two batches. People seemed to enjoy them.
RECIPE: Light Brioche Buns
Makes eight 4 to 5 inch buns
3 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup water, room temperature
1/4 cup milk, room temperature
2 tablespoons honey
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
Sesame seeds, for finishing
1) Whisk together the flours, salt, and yeast.
2) Add the water, milk, honey, and egg.
3) Using the dough hook, mix at low speed for 2 to 3 minutes, or until well-combined and smooth, scraping the bowl down as needed.
4) Add butter in small pieces, kneading until fully incorporated.
5) Increase the speed to medium-low, and knead for about 6 or 7 minutes, or until smooth and elastic.
6) Scrape the dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size (1-2hrs).
7) Lightly grease a large baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead to deflate it. Be careful not to incorporate too much flour which will make the dough tough.
8) Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Form each piece into a round ball smoothing the outside. Flatten it slightly, dust off any excess flour, and place on prepared baking sheet, smooth side up. Cover loosely with lightly-oiled plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until double in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours.
9) Preheat the oven to 400° F, and position rack in the lower third of the oven.
10) Gently brush each bun with the egg wash, taking care not to deflate them. Sprinkle each with sesame seeds before the egg wash dries
11) Bake buns for 15 to 20 minutes, or until well-browned on top. Place on wire rack to cool thoroughly before serving.
These buns are better when brushed with a little butter or olive oil and toasted.