Brioche buns more than burger-patty bookends

The Whole Dish podcast: Shrimp burgers luxurious match for brioche buns

Brioche hamburger buns, mentioned in my latest podcast, recently vied with pretzel buns for my affections while shopping at a locally owned grocer.

I’d noticed Franz’s brioche buns sometime this past spring, but now an artisan brand, St. Pierre, had debuted at Medford’s Food 4 Less. Quel joi!

And St. Pierre’s pack of four buns is perfect for my family. I admit it’s something of a pet peeve to buy a package of hamburger or hot dog buns, only to have a few left over that either have to be frozen, or fed to the chickens.

So I didn’t hesitate to add the package of buns to my cart with little consideration for what type of burger they would bookend. Salmon, turkey, lamb, even eggplant. Whichever patty materialized, I was romanticizing the sensation of first biting into a pillowy bun rich with buttery, eggy flavor.

Of course the crème de la crème of brioche is the dough you make yourself and eat straight out of the oven. These hamburger buns require a bit less time than the pretzel version I posted, about an hour plus rising time, according to the Los Angeles Times, which tested the recipe.

Tribune News Service photo

Brioche Buns

3/4 cup milk, divided

1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast

1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided

3 eggs, divided

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) butter, at room temperature

3 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting

1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small pan, heat 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of milk over medium heat, just until warmed. Remove from heat, and pour milk into a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir in the yeast and 1 teaspoon of the sugar, then set aside until milk is foamy and yeast is activated, for about 10 minutes.

Crack 2 of the eggs into bowl of a stand mixer and whisk, using the whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer), until light and fluffy, for about 1 minute. Stir in yeast mixture and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until fully incorporated.

If using a stand mixer, switch to paddle attachment. With mixer running, add the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until incorporated.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. With mixer running, add flour mixture, a spoonful at a time, until fully incorporated.

Remove dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until it is soft and somewhat silky (it’s a rich dough and won’t be entirely smooth), for 5 to 7 minutes. Place dough in a large, oiled bowl and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place until doubled in size, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (Alternatively, you can refrigerate dough overnight, then take it out the next day and wait for it to come to room temperature.)

Meanwhile, make an egg wash: Beat together remaining egg with remaining 2 tablespoons milk.

Heat oven to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease parchment.

When dough is doubled (it will be very smooth and elastic), punch it down and divide it into 6 pieces, each weighing about 5 ounces. Form each piece into a ball, pinching seams together at base of each one. Flatten ball so it’s about 1 inch thick and place on prepared baking sheet; continue until you have 6 rounds evenly spaced on sheet.

Lightly brush each round with prepared wash (for deeper coloring, brush rounds a second time after first wash has dried), and set aside until rounds are puffed and almost doubled in size, for about 15 minutes.

Bake rounds until they are puffed and a rich golden color, for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway for even coloring. Cool completely on a rack before slicing and serving.

Makes 6 buns.

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