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Friday, April 2, 2010

Brioche Buns, Barbeque, and Birthdays

Today is the 35th anniversary of the man of the house's birth.  In honor of the occasion, his brother and sister-in-law are coming up to the farmhouse from NC for the weekend.  In celebration of his birthday and his brother's visit, the man of the house is smoking a pork shoulder for pulled pork tonight.  When we were at the store getting supplies for the weekend I, ambitiously, suggested that rather than buying the buns I would make them at home.

Last summer I read this article and saw this post but at the time I had never made a loaf of bread and didn't see myself starting anytime soon.  When I got into making bread I avoided brioche doughs fearing their slack, sticky texture and lamenting my lack of stand mixer with dough hook attachment.  Now that I've made them I realize what a sissy I was and I can't believe it took me until now to make them.  The buns are light, chewy, and perfectly plump unlike the flat, limp burger buns you get so often at the supermarket.  Whatever you do, don't make the same mistake I did and wait nearly a year to make these buns.

You'll Need:

3 tablespoons 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, softened
Sesame seeds (optional)

 Getting Started:

Soften butter.

Heat milk and water on the stove or in the microwave to approximately 110 degrees F and combine with the yeast and sugar.  Let stand until foamy, about five minutes.

Beat one egg.

Now You're Cookin':

In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt.

Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers until small crumbs form.

Stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.

Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. The dough ball will retain some stickiness.

Shape dough into a ball and place in a large, well-oiled bowl.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Divide dough into 8 equal parts (about 4 oz. each).

Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet.*

Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.

Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

*When I shaped my buns I rolled them into tight round balls.  If I were making these for hamburgers, though, I would have shaped them into discs rather than balls so that the burger would be something I could actually take a bite of without dislocating my jaw.

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