Monday, September 21, 2009

brioche hamburger buns, and passing the love (updated)

I aspire to be someone who continues to learn new things. I have found that to declare that I am someone who simply does not...(fill in the blank) just does not work for me.

This has really only come about because I find that I am now someone who does many things that I didn't used to do. For example, I am someone who enjoys Math. I am someone who reads comic books on occasion. I am someone who gardens. I am someone who knows how to can a jar of preserves. I am someone who knows the difference between an agent and a manager. I am someone who has been to Morocco.
I am someone who is not afraid of yeast.

I'm working on the last one, and I'm almost there. See, the thing is, I just don't trust it. I've made a lot of dense loaves of bread that would break a glass coffee table if dropped from a certain height. I have often been known to talk to my yeast- "Froth, god damn it, aren't you alive?" only to kill it with anger. "Rise to double it's bulk" doesn't really jive in my kitchen.
But I'm determined, and it's paying off. More and more, the dough does rise, the bread actually has air in it. And as we come back into the bread baking time of the year, I'm ready to say that I'm someone who makes bread.
These are really fabulous hamburger buns. They are lighter than most, and sweet in a way that goes really well with a pickle. What's that? You're not someone who makes hamburger buns? Oh come on, if I can do it, so can you.

Light Brioche Burger Buns
Adapted from Hidefumi Kubota, Comme Ça, Los Angeles, written about in the New York Times, then made so enticing by Smitten Kitchen
makes 8 buns

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.

poppy or sesame seeds, optional

In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, (foam god damn it!) about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat 1 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, unfloured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes.

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.

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.

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.

And now, as promised, it's time to pass on the Lovely Blog Award! Lisa Michele made me giddy with this one last week, and now I'd like to pass on the love. The idea is that you accept the award and acknowledge the giver, and then pass it on to up to fifteen blogs that you have recently discovered and are loving. This one goes to:

Kelly at Sass and Veracity

Mary at One Perfect Bite

Amanda at Slow Like Honey

Kristin at The Kitchen Sink

Emily at Well Fed, Flat Broke

Erica at Cooking For Seven

Lindsay from Cake and Commerce

Erin at House on Hill Road

Go and read these fine ladies, you'll be happy you did...


  1. Hey, thanks so much for the award! And those buns look delicious.

  2. Hellooo! Thank you for the award - "lovely" is actually the most overused word on my blog, so I appreciate it's application here, as an adjective :)

    The buns look lovely - I haven't made buns yet, but I was considering making a batch and then freezing them. This, I think, will be the recipe I try that with.

  3. Alana, congratulations on your award and your great kindness in sharing it with me. I am most appreciative. Thank you. Mary

  4. What a pleasant surprise -- and ditto. I love your writing and the voice that goes along with it. Considering your lists of "I haves" above, I have seen Morocco from Gibralter -- does that count? :) Great bun recipe! Have yet to make hamburger buns.