Brioche Burger Buns

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IMG_0980So this recipe was originally supposed to go up a few weeks ago, but this month has been a bit all over the place. I got this recipe from the amazing Smitten Kitchen blog, one of the best food blogs ever. I hope they don’t mind me using it – it’s one of my favourites! And every recipe of theirs that I’ve ever tried has been a success! In fact I must get her book, as I know I know I would use it a lot…

I don’t often make bread because it often seems like more work than it really is. I really should though, as it’s actually very easy and quite therapeutic. It just takes a bit of time and patience but it’s worth it when you end up with buns like these:

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I haven’t actually changed the recipe, except that I did add an extra egg by accident and didn’t realise until after I had made them. I didn’t even notice that I forgot all about adding a tray of water to the bottom of the oven while they bake, but it didn’t seem to make a huge difference to the finished buns, as I made them again last week following the recipe exactly and they were just as good both times.

I’ve made these buns several times over the past few years. They are really worth the time and effort, as there is no comparison to cheap, plastic supermarket burger buns. They’re rich and soft and full of flavour and substance!

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I must try making them into hot dog rolls and mini slider buns too! They freeze quite well in an airtight bag. The original recipe makes 8 large buns, but the last time I made these I got 9 largish buns out of them. These buns are the perfect bread for burgers.

I usually have them with homemade beef burgers but they go equally well with turkey burgers too. In fact, I’ve created a lovely turkey burger recipe for beaut.ie that will work wonderfully with these buns. It should be going up either this week or next, so stay tuned! I’ll update this recipe when it’s gone up with the link…

On to the recipe!

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Ingredients:

3 tbsp warm milk

2 tsp active dry yeast (1 x 7g sachet instant dry yeast)

2 1/2 tbsp sugar (I used light brown sugar but any will do)

2 large eggs (I used organic farm eggs)

3 cups bread flour i.e. strong white flour (I use Dove’s Farm)

1/3 cups plain flour (Dove’s Farm again)

extra flour for dusting

1 1/2 tsp sea salt (Maldon)

2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, soft

sesame seeds, optional

1 cup warm water

kettle of boiled water

Method:

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Warm the milk gently over a low heat.

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In a measuring jug combine the water, milk, yeast and sugar and whisk well with a fork.

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Add the sugar to the milk and water.

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Add the instant yeast to the jug too.

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Leave to stand for at least 10 minutes, until the yeast is activated and forms a thick layer of foam on top of the liquid. It will look cool and smell like beer!

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Meanwhile beat one of the eggs lightly.

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In a large bowl whisk the flours with the salt. Rub the butter into the flour until you have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs.

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Add the beaten egg to the flours.

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Add the foamy yeast mixture as well. It looks VERY odd here – like bubbly brains!

Using a dough scraper or a spatula, mix in the yeast mixture and the beaten egg and mix gently until you have soft, wet dough. I like to get my hands in at that point to finish combining everything. Don’t be afraid to get messy! It’s so much fun!

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Scrape the dough out onto a clean, well floured surface.

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Coat your hands lightly in flour and being gently kneading the dough. This is a bit messy at first but is actually very easy to do.

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Try and fold the dough back over itself as you knead, and try not to add too much excess flour, as it will make the dough dryer and therefore the bread tougher.

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Knead for a good 10 minutes or until you have a smooth, soft dough.

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It should still be a little sticky so don’t let that put you off. Oil or flour the mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl.

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Cover with cling film and leave in a warm dry place like a hot press, airing cupboard or even near a warm oven. I turn my oven on in advance and leave it on the stove. It will take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to prove, depending on how warm the area is. Mine only took about an hour.

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It will rise and double in size impressively! Once it has reached this stage, you must “knock it back”, by poking the air out and letting it collapse a bit. That is my favourite part! It’s so much fun to watch it deflate!

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Tip it out onto the board. Then flatten it a bit with your fingertips into a round or oblong shape. Cut the dough into 8 or 9 equal size pieces. You can get exact with this by using an electronic scales if you really want, but I just cut it into wedges.

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Gently roll the pieces of dough into balls, and tuck any lose bits in and under, rolling again to smooth them out as much as possible without handling them too roughly.

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Arrange the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Cover the tray loosely with a sheet of oiled cling film and leave in the same warm place for at least an hour if not 2, until they have risen, expanded and doubled in size.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200 C or 400 F or Gas Mark 6. This is where you are supposed to add a large roasting tin or deep baking tray full of boiling water to the bottom of the oven and let it steam up before the buns go in. But I totally forgot this time and even though I did do it next time, I can’t say it made a huge difference! Sorry, is that baking sacrilege?

Beat the second egg and brush each bun gently with the egg wash.

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This is where I slipped up and realised I had put both eggs into the bread and had to use a third! I can’t honestly say it made a huge difference.

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Sprinkle generously with sesame seeds.

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Bake the buns on the middle shelf for approximately 15 minutes, turning the tray around once halfway through cooking, until golden brown all over.

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Seriously, how good do these look! And so easy too! I felt like a real baker making these…

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Leave to cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before cutting into them. They are at their best when freshly baked and still warm and soft, but will keep in an airtight container for at least 3 days, and will freeze well in a ziplock bag.

They also make an excellent snack toasted with butter or as the base of a delicious cheese toastie! I’ve yet to try them with other things, but I imagine they would also work well with pulled pork or even a fancy fish burger! The milk, butter and eggs gives them a real richness compared to normal bread and helps them stay fresher for longer. Not that they last long in my house!

This bank holiday weekend has been a washout so far, but hopefully we’ll get some proper summer weather soon. These would be perfect for a real BBQ! Remember, stay tuned for my recipe for yummy turkey burgers with chipotle mayo on the side…

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What are your favourite burger recipes? Do you buy proper burger buns or make them yourself? Have you got any other burger recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments…

Enjoy!

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