Burger buns. So many different types. So many ways they can go very, very wrong.
Anyone remember that whole ‘Artisan-style Ciabatta’ debacle a while back? You catch my drift.
Most depressing of all is the bloody awful selection we get from the majority of our supermarkets and bakeries. Typically we have to suffer the following:
- The humble white bap. A moisture-sucking floury roll that capitulates like an over-dunked Malted Milk in the face of burger juice
- The crusty cob. A roof-of-mouth torturer.
And don’t even get me started on what they call burger buns, you may as well enclose your burger in two bits of fucking balsa wood.
Faced with this, I’ve tested various recipes over the last few months; from simple buns, to classic hamburger buns, to more fiddly potato rolls. More recently, with the increasing popularity of them at burger joints in London, I’ve had a go at differing brioche recipes too.
After finding some way too buttery or too sweet, I finally found this recipe.
And it’s a doozy, yielding light, beautifully textured buns, with that impressive shiny orange dome. Ever since, I’ve been using this for all of our burger experimentations, (including our Super Bowl Bacon Double Cheese, and the mini-concoctions for our rockumental burger fondue).
Give them a go, the prep is fiddly as fuck, but it delivers a very impressive cache of buns at the end, and they will give you results better than in most restaurants.
Brioche Burger Buns
Makes 10-12 4(ish) inch buns
- 3 tablespoons warm milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups strong bread flour
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Sesame seeds (optional)
In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let it stand until nice n’ foamy, about ten minutes.
Beat one egg.
In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Gradually add butter and rub into the flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and your beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape the dough onto a clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic. I do it for 12-14 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side, so it can be hella messy and will stick to your hands, the kitchen cupboards, the cat, hell, everywhere. But keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will be.
Shape the dough into a ball and return it back to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, between one to two hours.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 10-12 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball, place on the baking sheet and then swish down a bit with the palm of your hand, ideally they should be two to three inches apart on the sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray/sunflower oil and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours.
Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 205 degrees celsius with the rack in the middle. Beat the remaining egg with one tablespoon of water and brush some on top of buns. If you want sesame seeds on them, lob them on top now. I don’t, typically. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
(Recipe adapted from the awesome Smitten Kitchen)