Here’s how I know these brioche rolls are good:
I’ve made them several times, and one of those times was while staying at James’ (where the kitchen actually had sesame seeds to sprinkle over the top! Unlike the version seen here). The recipe makes eight burger buns, and between us and his parents we ate five of them with dinner. Which was, of course, pulled pork and BBQ sauce.
But James was so enamoured by this bread. I don’t know if it was the fluffy dough, the slightly sweet notes from the butter and sugar, and the egg-wash glaze over the top, but whatever it was, he was hooked. So he ate them for dessert.
And this decision wasn’t borne of a scarcity of real dessert options available. I mean… there was peanut butter ice cream in the freezer! Yoghurts in the fridge! Chocolate in the cupboard! Fruit in the fruitbowl! (Well, that last one was never going to be an option, really). But still: this bread won.
When they came out of the oven he quickly photographed them and sent the photo to one of his friends to gloat about the dinner he was about to enjoy. And who does that?! This wasn’t any ubiquitous instagramming of his food with a Valencia or X-Pro colour wash over it, providing food inspiration for a variety of followers. This was a specific, private text conversation between friends in which he was playing –and winning - Top Trumps with bread.
He's a keeper.
& because I was particularly prepared with my camera on the day I made these rolls, I've a few in-progress shots which might help demystify breadmaking. For example, yeast!
You know when recipes tell you to add yeast to some lukewarm water, with maybe some sugar, and to leave it for 5-10 minutes until bubbles appear? On the left, I've just added the yeast. On the right, I've waited five minutes or so and it's begun to froth. That's what you're looking for!
Doesn't it just look so happy to be alive? No, just me?
Then next I've got a simple 4-part diagram of the various stages: 1 - mixing the dry ingredients. 2 - adding the egg and the yeast. 3 - just mixed. 4 - after having been kneaded, the dough was returned to the mixing bowl (which I cleaned and lightly oiled). I topped this with a slightly damp teatowel and left it to rise somewhere cosy for an hour-ish.
Then look at the little burger balls!
The recipe I’ve shown here is taken from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, the ultimate goddess of food bloggers everywhere. And like she says of these rolls in her description: this is it. These are the definitive homemade burger buns, the Holy Grail of bread rolls. James agrees with me.
Brioche Burger Buns
From Smitten Kitchen
I made a slight adaptation with the flour ratios, subbing a cup of wholemeal bread flour for one of the cups of white bread flour, but only because I ran out of white bread flour and the energy to walk to the store for more.
Yield: 8 4-5inch burger buns
250ml (1 cup) warm water
3 tablespoons (45ml) warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, 1 for the mix and another to egg wash the rolls before baking
255g (2 cups) strong white bread flour
130g (1 cup) strong wholemeal bread flour
40g (1/3 cup) plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ teaspoons unsalted butter, softened - if you only have salted butter, use this but only add 1 teaspoon of salt
Sesame seeds, optional
- In a glass measuring cup, combine water, milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.
- 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, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic - this should take 8-10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. ;).
- Shape dough into a ball and return in to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, or a knife, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange them 2-3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of lightly-oiled clingfilm and let the buns rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until larger in size.
- Set a shallow pan of water on the oven floor and preheat the oven to 200°C/ 400°F with the rack in the centre. Beat remaining egg with a tablespoon of water and brush some on top of the buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.