Light Brioche Buns

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Here’s the deal.  One day, we’d like to open our own restaurant.  When that happens, I’d like to make just about everything from scratch.  Running a restaurant currently, I completely realize how unrealistic that is, but nonetheless I want to try.  When I make something that I think might fit into that ‘future restaurant product’ category I tuck it away into a file.  Like, an old school file in a filing cabinet… not a newfangled file on my computer.  This just might be a recipe that makes it into that file.

You see, one night a few weeks ago we were having hamburgers for dinner.  I forgot to buy buns.  Being me, I decided that instead of piling children back into the car, I would just make buns.  Thus began my search.  This Light Brioche Burger Bun recipe popped up on my Google search from Smitten Kitchen.  If Deb thinks it’s good, then it must be good.  Thus concluded my search.  I like searches that like.  You try one recipe and BAM, that’s it.

These buns are, in a word, delicious.  I don’t really have another word.  I ate two by themselves before even putting a hamburger patty on one.  They would be perfect for sandwiches or as dinner bread.  Like a classic brioche, they aren’t super moist or dense, but just enough so that they don’t crumble under the pressure of housing juicy ground beef.  This is one of those awesome recipes that requires you to remove your rings and get your hands dirty.  I love recipes like that.  The best utensils reside at the ends of our arms.  Next time, I’ll add sesame seeds and a little more egg wash.  On a side note, they freeze really well.  HUGE PLUS!

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Here’s what you need: (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
Makes 8 4-5 inch buns

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 tablespoons warm milk
  • 2 teaspoons (1 packet) 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, softened
  • Sesame seeds (optional)

  Brioche 1

In a glass bowl, mix water, milk, yeast and sugar.  Stir just a bit, but then let it sit for about 5 minutes… until it’s foamy.  In a small bowl, beat one egg.  In a large bowl, beat flours together with the salt.  Work the butter into the flour with your fingers, making fine crumbs (see photo above).  Using a dough scraper, mix in yeast mixture and egg until a sticky dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a well floured surface and knead 8-10 minutes (until smooth and elastic) picking it up and slapping it onto the counter every minute or so.  The dough will still be a little sticky… and remember that the more flour you add, the tougher the buns will be.

Brioche 3

Return dough to the bowl, loosely cover and let rest in a warm place for one to two hours… until doubled in size.  Then, divide dough into 8 equal parts and gently roll into balls.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and let rise again, covered and in a warm place, for another hour or so… again until doubled.  Two notes: 1.  I have 9 rolls, because I split one in two to make smaller buns for Bug; 2.  I usually cover rising dough with a kitchen towel, but plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray works fine, too.

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Place a shallow pan with water in the bottom of the oven and preheat to 400′.  Beat the remaining egg with a tablespoon of warm water and gently wash over buns.  Sprinkle sesame seeds, if using.  Bake at 400′ for about 15 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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