I have mixed feelings about the brioche buns I made for a birthday party (my birthday party). Of course, I wanted them to taste good -- I was having guests. I invited three neighbors for drinks, dinner, and birthday cake on the patio. The four of us have our birthdays within a one week span in May. This party was a celebration for all of us.
Fortunately, the brioche buns did taste good. I was expecting that would be the case, and that is my dilemma. How can I ever purchase grocery store or bakery buns again? From now on I will want these made-by-me brioche buns every time I plan to grill a hamburger, turkey burger, or salmon burger.
I approached this recipe for Light Brioche Buns (an adapted recipe from Comme Ca in L.A., and printed in the June 30, 2009, New York Times) a little differently than the published instructions. The changes I made really make these buns easy (yes, EASY!) if you plan one day ahead.
1. First of all, my intention was to make smaller buns for beef sliders. The recipe is for 8 buns (8 large buns). I made 12 buns instead. They were smaller, but I wanted them smaller still. On my second batch of the brioche buns, I divided the dough into 16 pieces, and I'd have to say, the result was perfect.
2. The recipe calls for hand kneading. I eliminated a little time, and cleaning up my work table, by kneading the dough in my KitchenAide mixer. When my mixer literally started "walking" across my counter, the dough was ready (about 6 minutes). And in using my mixer, I didn't need to add any extra flour -- as little additional flour as possible should be added when kneading by hand to prevent toughening the dough.
3. After the dough was placed in a large mixing bowl to rise and covered with plastic wrap, I put it in my refrigerator overnight. The next day I immediately rolled the risen dough into balls, placed them on parchment-lined baking sheets, and let them rise for one hour, then baked them for 15 minutes. Also, having the dough cold makes them very easy to roll into balls.
• Light Brioche Buns •
an adapted recipe from The New York Times, June 30, 2009
• 3 tablespoons warm milk
• 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
• 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 3 cups bread flour
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small cubes, softened
1. In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast, and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, beat 1 egg.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the flours and salt. Add the butter, and with your fingers and rub into the flour until small crumbs. Add the yeast mixture and beaten egg; using the hook attachment of the mixer, beat the flour-yeast mixture on medium-low until the dough cleans the side of the bowl and is smooth and elastic.
3. Transfer the dough mixture to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator to rise overnight.
4. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove the brioche dough from the refrigerator and divide into equally-sized pieces -- 8 for large buns, or 16 for "slider-sized" buns. Flour your hands lightly and shape each piece of dough into a small ball. Place the dough balls, evenly spaced, on the the two baking sheets.
Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place for approximately one to two more hours -- I enclose my dough with plastic without letting the plastic touch the dough.
5. Set a large pan of water on the floor of the oven and place a rack on the middle shelf. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the top of the dough with the egg. Sprinkle each dough ball with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or leave plain. Bake brioche buns (I do one sheet at a time) for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack. If not using that day, freeze buns in an air-tight freezer bag or container.
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