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tablespoon active dry yeast
stick melted unsalted butter
cups unbleached all-purpose flour
(1 egg wash egg beaten with 1 tbsp water)
Mix the yeast, salt, eggs, honey, milk and melted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fixed with the paddle attachment.
Mix in the flour until ingredients are just mixed (there might be lumps in the dough -- don't worry, they'll disappear after baking).
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
After dough has doubled, cover bowl with plastic wrap (not too tight, though -- the dough still needs to breathe a bit) and place in refrigerator overnight, or about 8-12 hours.
The next morning, remove dough from the refrigerator and divide into 6-8 equal pieces. With hands, roll each piece into a smooth ball and place on a baking stone or baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Lightly flatten ball so it resembles a hamburger bun. Allow buns to rise until puffy, about 1 hour.
In the meantime, preheat oven to 350°F.
Before baking, brush egg wash onto the tops of each bun. Bake for 30-40 minutes until buns are lightly golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before slicing.
More About This Recipe
- I just got back from vacation. We went to Minnesota for a week, spending a few days in the Twin Cities and then a few more on the North Shore, a stone's throw from the Canadian border. We spent time with friends, family and (a lot of) good food, from blue cheese burgers to homemade caramel turtle ice cream to bagels and freshly-cured lox. It was fantastic getaway, and though I'm sad it's over, I'm also glad to be back to spend the final few weeks of the summer at home.
There's a lot going on around here. Living in a college town, once school's back in session, it's as if the city has come back to life again, with hoards of backpack-wielding students roaming the sidewalks and pedaling on their bicycles to class. It's also a perfect time to experience the downtown life, as restaurants and coffee shops, once desolate, are bustling again. But of course, there's always a downside -- and in this case, what makes this city so great is also what makes it a pain in the you-know-what. That would be the crowds.
So, though it's nice to be a part of the lively city every once in a while, it's also nice to stick around at home where you don't have to worry about finding a parking spot or missing your dinner reservation. And with grilling still on the menu in these waning days of summer, there's nothing better than cooking up a juicy burger between my favorite part of the package -- the bun.
Buns, in my opinion, always get the wrong end of the deal. To most, they are overlooked when there's a delicious burger topped with sautéed onions and mushrooms in the way (and who could blame them?). But, with these homemade Brioche hamburger buns, the bread takes center stage. Fluffy, airy, lightly sweet and with the slightest of crusts, they are the perfect accompaniment to any filling. And when enjoyed in the comfort of your home -- no parking spots or crazy crowds to worry about -- it's a nice way to celebrate the end of summer.
Though another vacation would be nice, too.
Stephanie (aka Girl versus Dough) has joined Tablespoon to share her adventures in the kitchen. Check out Stephanie's Tablespoon member profile and keep checking back for her own personal recipes on Tablespoon!
Brian “Breadhead” Foreman is an active member of the Pitmaster Club. He frequently posts pictures of the most marvelous looking breads that he baked on his Big Green Egg, a ceramic kamado that is perfect for baking. I told him that I thought a specially formulated homemade brioche would make the perfect hamburger bun and he took the idea and ran with it. Brioche is a light rich, slightly sweet bread with a flaky texture that can be made sweet or savory. In France, where it originated, it is often baked in a cupcake like pan with fluted sides and served warm as a breakfast bread. With feedback from the chef Jacob Burton of the free online culinary school StellaCulinary.com, he created a brioche recipe that answers my job description perfectly.
You can bake this indoors or out. Indoors you have a little better temperature control than outdoors, but if you are the boss of your grill there is no reason why you can’t cook it outdoors. Kamados are especially good for this task.
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A lot of bread recipes that use milk will call for it to be scalded first (heating to a temperature of 180°F/82.2°C). This serves to deactivate the whey protein in the milk, which can weaken gluten structure, leading to a denser loaf.
However, in this formulation, we have plenty of gluten structure provided by the bread flour and autolyse, so scalding the milk is an optional step that I personally didn't find necessary. However, if you're having issues with an overly dense bun, you may want to consider scalding your milk first,
letting it drop to 100°F/37°C before using it in this recipe.
For best results, allow your butter to come to room temperature, and incorporate it one small pat at a time. The butter will have a tendency to ride up the side of the mixing bowl. When this happens, simply stop the mixer, and hand mix the butter back into the dough using the dough hook attachment.
Chilling the dough in the refrigerator overnight accomplishes two things. First, the slower fermentation will help to add complexity of flavor, yielding a superior brioche bun. Second, because this dough has a high fat content, it will be extremely hard to handle and form at room temperature. This is why the dough is portioned and formed as soon as it is removed from the fridge.
For added flavor and convenience, you can delay the fermentation a second time after forming. Once the individual portions of dough are placed in the tart ring/tin foil collar, you can cover with plastic wrap and place bake in your refrigerator for up to 16 hours.
When removed from the refrigerator, if the dough has already doubled in size, bake immediately as instructed above. If it has yet to double in size, leave covered at room temperature until the dough has finished proofing, and then bake.
When using this method, you may find that the yeast activates unevenly when baked directly from refrigeration, giving you certain portions of dough that rise faster than others. Best case scenario would be to pull the dough from the fridge once it's risen 1.5X its original volume, and then allow it to rise to a total of 2X its original volume at room temperature before baking. This "tempering" at room temperature will lead to a more even oven spring.
TIN FOIL COLLAR
For detailed instructions on making the tin foil baking collars used in this recipe, please see this related post.
MAKING DIFFERENT SIZED BUNS
As noted in the introduction to this recipe, these hamburger brioche buns were originally formulated for a large, 8 oz patty. But this recipe will work great for any sized bun or roll. Linked below are two recipes, one scaled for a standard, 4" hamburger bun, and one scaled for a 3" slider bun. The recipe and method are identical to this one and are posted purely for your convenience. Simply enter in the yield calculator how many buns you want to end up with, and the ingredients in the given recipe will automatically be scaled.