I’ve mentioned it before, but before this summer I really didn’t have a lot of time to cook due to graduate school, when I was working full time and taking full time classes at night. I have truly enjoyed getting back to my love of cooking, not only being in the kitchen but thinking about the quality of what I am cooking and baking. Lately I have been on a kick to see what I can make at home rather than buying at the grocery store for convenience, saving both money and preventing a lot of processed foods and preservatives from entering my diet. Through these experiments I have come up with homemade bread, pizzas, jams, and cereal – and I am looking forward to making more items.
I found this recipe for Light Brioche Buns from The New York Times via the Smitten Kitchen and decided to try my hand at making sandwich buns. This was also my first attempt at making homemade bread in my small apartment kitchen. I have to say, it was quite easy and these are the best hamburger buns I have tried (and least expensive – I made a batch of 10 buns for approximately $1.25). They are light in texture and taste, but sturdy enough to stand up to juicy hamburgers with condiments and toppings. I like to lightly toast the cut side of the buns under the broiler after slicing and before adding toppings.
The recipe says it will make 8 buns, but I have actually started cutting the dough into 10 pieces instead and find that they are still slightly larger than most store-bought buns. The dough also freezes very well – after the first rise and shaping the buns, freeze in a single layer on parchment paper. Once they are frozen store in a freezer bag and take them out as needed. I just place them on parchment on a baking sheet and bake them off two hours later (one hour to thaw, one hour to rise).
Light brioche dough after shaping and 2nd rise:
With egg wash and a sprinkling of sesame seeds:
And finally, after baking 13-15 minutes at 400 degrees (rotating the pan halfway):
Light Brioche Buns
from The New York Times
Time: 1 hour, plus 2 to 4 hours’ rising *
- 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, softened
1. In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat 1 egg.
2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, unfloured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Yield: 8 (or 10!) buns.
*If you are a novice bread baker, don’t let the amount of time listed scare you away. It only takes 20-30 minutes of actual work to make these buns (and most breads), and the remaining time is for rising. You can get a lot of other things accomplished during the rise time! Also, I let my trusty KitchenAid do all of the mixing and knead work, making the recipe that much easier.