Saturday, 30 August 2014

Brioche buns

I have been meaning to try baking my own hamburger buns, as the store bought ones are simply disgusting. The quality of bread in general in this country is indescribably substandard. The only way of getting a decent loaf of bread is to bake it yourself. Sometimes you may run across a small bakery that makes good bread, but living beyond all civilisation we don't have any good bakeries anywhere near us. I do like my burgers in a nice brioche bun, so I thought why not try it. As I was working the dough I was once again reminded that making brioche dough by hand is a pain, and that I need to start saving up for that Kitchen Aid ASAP.

I found this recipe by simply googling brioche buns. It's from a blog called The Clever Carrot, and they looked so yummy. The blog also has some great step by step tutorial with photos if you are not a very experienced baker (but it's only for using a food processor to make the dough).

Brioche hamburger buns (makes 8):
1 cup warm water
3 tbsp warm milk
2 tsp dry yeast
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt (I would decrease this to 3/4 - 1 tsp)
35 g butter
(seeds for topping if desired)

The howto:
Mix the water, milk, yeast and sugar in a jug or small bowl and let stand for five minutes. Meanwhile lightly whisk the egg in another small bowl. In a large bowl, mix the flours, salt and butter and either use a paddle attachment on a stand mixer or your fingers to process until resembling coarse sand. Add the yeast mixture and egg and either process in a stand mixer for 8-10 minutes until a dough forms, or use your hands to mix and then knead for 10-15 minutes. The dough is sticky and rather tough to knead by hand, but don't add more flour as that makes the dough too dense. I used a dough scraper in one hand and the other hand to do the kneading. It will get slightly less sticky at some point when the gluten starts forming. Return to the bowl and let the dough rise until double in size. This will take 1-3 hours, and it's worth letting it rise properly as that is what will give you those wonderfully light and fluffy buns. 

When you are happy with the size of you dough, scrape it out onto a floured surface, and knead a few times to push out all the air. Divide into eight equal sized balls, and shape into rolls. Place onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet and cover with a towel and leave to rise for another hour. Towards the end of the second raise, pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F). Brush with egg wash ( egg mixed with a bit of water) and sprinkle with seeds of choice if desired. Place an oven proof dish with water in the lower part of the oven, and place rolls in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.

The verdict:
Before starting, I have to admit I made a mistake when making the dough, which I only discovered when I typed up the recipe for my blog post. I only put one egg in the dough instead of two. I was wondering why the dough wasn't quite as soggy as I had expected (although it was sticky enough, trust me). So all I can say is that the buns turned out great when using one egg. They were really tasty, and very light and fluffy. The only change I would make is to reduce the amount of salt to half of what it is, I don't like my bread very salty and this was certainly a bit on the extreme side. But other than that, these were the perfect hamburger buns. They were also perfect for eating with nothing but butter while fresh out of the oven, and they were perfect for eating for breakfast with butter and jam (such as this awesome plum jam). This is definitely a keeper, although the kneading is a bit of a messy business it's definitely worth the effort. 
The buns are perfect for hamburgers but also delicious
simply with some butter and jam.

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