I just got back from a fantastic trip to Walt Disney World with my family, and I cannot believe this heat. We spent our days in the rain, which made for shorter lines, but we all laughed to find out it was hotter when we got home. From the minute we returned I have wanted a good burger, on my favourite homemade bun. These buns are Brioche style, they have egg, milk, and butter added, just not quite as much as you would find in a true brioche bun. Nonetheless these buns have that same tender crumb and rich buttery flavour you would expect of a brioche. They really are the perfect texture for a great burger, or sandwich. The best part is they are also really easy to make, the trickiest part is making sure you shape them properly before the final rest. Other than that if you start in the morning they will easily be ready for dinner, and an early afternoon taste testing snack if you are so inclined.
To start, place the warm water, warm milk, sugar, and fresh yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently stir the mixture together to let the sugar dissolve, then leave the mixture to begin to bloom, about 10 minutes.
While waiting, it is the perfect time to get the remainder of the ingredients ready, and really that is all there is left to do. This really is a simple recipe, and a great place to start if you are new to bread making. Anyway, add the flour and salt to a large bowl and mix to incorporate. Then add in three tablespoons of room temperature butter. Also, in a separate dish lightly beat one of the eggs.
Now with your hands, or a wooden spoon, gently incorporate the butter into the flour until you have pieces about the size of a pea.
Once you’ve got the ingredients ready the yeast should be activated, if it isn’t you may need new yeast. Fresh yeast doesn’t stay good as long as active dry, but I like the baking results better.
Now add the flour/butter mixture, and beaten egg, into the bowl of the stand mixer that has the yeast mixture. With the dough hook attachment, on medium speed, mix the ingredients until fully incorporated, and pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
Once it has been well mixed turn the speed to medium-low and knead for a few minutes. Remove from the bowl and knead for the last few minutes by hand, this stops you from over kneading the bread in the mixer.
Once the dough is ready, place it in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat both sides, and cover with a damp tea towel until it doubles in size. About 1-3 hours. I know that seems like a huge window but really when checking to see if dough is proofed you should watch the dough more then the clock.
Here is the dough now that it has doubled in size, but not over proofed, it took just over an hour today. It is 32 degrees here, and I don’t have air conditioning. In the winter this would have taken closer to two and a half hours. That is why looking at the dough is important, you want to know what to look for and not just stick to some determined time that often varies.
Now that the dough is ready, punch the air out of it and form into a log. I like to weigh it at this point to know how much dough per bun. This recipe makes about 9 – 10 regular sized buns. Each dough ball has a weight of about 110 grams.
Once you’ve cut all the pieces, working one by one, roll it into a ball. Then place it on the palm of you hand and flatten it into a pancake type shape. Now pull up all the edges and pinch them together to create a seam in the centre of the dough. This creates the surface tension you will want for your buns not to crack or open up. Once you’ve firmly pinched the seams together gently roll in your hands to shape back into a ball.
Place the shaped brioche bun onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat this process with all the remaining dough, making sure to always place the bun seam side down. This makes sure the seams hold together while baking. Cover the prepared buns with a damp tea towel to rest, and get puffy. 1 – 2 hours.
When you can tell the buns are starting to become pillowy, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a baking dish inside the oven. I place it on the rack directly below the one the buns will bake on.
Once the oven is to temperature make a quick egg wash, which you should be very generous with, by adding a splash of water to the beaten egg.
Generously brush the egg wash all over each bun, making sure to get as much of the sides as you can. Once that is done the buns are ready for the oven, but before they go in add about half a cup of water to the baking dish that was put in the oven. This will create a steam and really make these buns perfect. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until a nice dark golden brown. They should also feel very light when picked up, if they feel heavy they probably aren’t done baking.
Remove the fully baked brioche buns from the oven and place the tray on a wired rack to cool completely.
Once the buns have fully cooled you can slice them up for you favourite burger, or sandwich. Or just shove one in your face, but if you are going to do that, do it while it is warm and give it a good slathering of butter.
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons warm whole milk
25 grams fresh yeast, or 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons butter, room temperature
(sesame seeds or poppy seeds are optional, ie. your kids aren’t picky weirdos)
- Place the warm water, warm milk, sugar, and yeast into the bowl of a stand mixer. Gently stir the mixture to help the sugar dissolve. Leave the mixture to bubble for about 10 minutes.
- While waiting for the yeast mixture to get frothy, prepare the remaining ingredients.
- In a large bowl add the flour, salt, and 3 tablespoons of butter. Then gently with your hands, or a wooden spoon, stir the butter into the flour until there are no pieces bigger than the size of a pea.
- In a small bowl take 1 egg and lightly beat it, this will be added to the dough. The other egg will be reserved for the egg wash.
- Once you know the yeast is activated and bubbly, add in the flour mixture and the lightly beaten egg.
- With the hook attachment, and the mixer on medium speed, mix the dough until all the ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough is cleanly pulling away from the sides of the bowl. You may need to scrape down the bowl a few times while the ingredients are incorporating together.
- Now that everything is fully incorporated turn the mixer speed to medium low and knead the dough for about 3 minutes. It should just be starting to get tension and feel elastic.
- For the remainder of the kneading, about 3 more minutes, use your hands. This helps you know the moment the dough is ready and prevents over kneading.
- Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat both sides. Then cover with a damp tea towel and allow to double in size, about 1 -3 hours. Remember, watch your dough, not the clock, if it is doubled in size and only been an hour, it is done.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and punch the air out of it, shape into a rough log shape.
- At this point it is a good idea to weigh the dough to know that each bun is roughly the same size. For the size I like it makes about 9 – 10 buns, each dough ball (before the 2nd rest) weighs about 110 grams.
- Cut the dough into the required number of sizes and pieces, then working one at a time roll a measured piece of the dough into a ball.
- Place the ball on the palm of your hand and with the other hand flatten it like a pancake.
- Now pull up on the ends of the dough and pinch the seams together to seal in the center (it will look like four points coming together). Make sure the seams are well sealed, and the dough is pulled fairly tightly to give a surface tension. Then gently roll the dough back into a ball shape using the palms of your hands, and place seam side down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Repeat this process with the remaining measured pieces of dough.
- Once all the dough has been shaped, cover the brioche buns with a damp tea towel and allow to rest, 1 – 2 hours. The buns should look pillowy and just starting to puff up.
- Near the end of the resting time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and place a baking dish on the rack below the one the buns will be baking on.
- Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with a tablespoon of water, generously brush over each brioche bun. Make sure to be generous here to get that great shine, and don’t forget to brush some on the sides of the buns as well.
- Once they are egg washed, add 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish that was put into the oven at the start of preheating, this creates a lovely steam for the bread to bake in.
- Now place the baking tray with the brioche buns into the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until dark golden brown.
- You can tell they are done when they feel very light, and hollow. But do not over bake, these shouldn’t be hard or have a firm crust.
- When they are fully baked, remove from the oven and place on a wired rack to cool completely.
- Slice the buns and serve your favourite burgers, or make a fantastic sandwich.