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I have absolutely no business baking hamburger buns.
I don’t eat hamburgers. I have only eaten one real burger in the past five years. Yes, it was a good burger and, yes, I may have eaten the whole thing with audible grunts and ecstatic sighs, but I’m still not — and never will be — a “burger girl.”
Unless, of course, there’s a really good bun involved.
See, buns I can handle. Bread. Hot, supple white flesh begging for a pat of butter, a smear of honey and a pair of teeth to tear it to pieces?
Oh yes, yes. I’m definitely a bun girl.
But I still have no business making these buns. Not because I won’t be using them to transport cow into my vessel – there are plenty of other ways to ingest a light brioche roll that could double as a seat cushion.
But because I am terrified of working with yeast.
An active live property completely dependent on me for survival?
It’s like winning a goldfish at the county fair all over again.
This past weekend, however, I decided I was going to be brave. I had my KitchenAid stand mixer – complete with dough hook – and a list of detailed instructions for making bread with it. Never mind that the manual warned me that “liquids at higher temperatures can kill yeast,” and that “liquids at lower temperatures will retard yeast growth.” Never mind that I don’t have any idea how “warm” my milk and water should be for activating said yeast, and never mind that I don’t own a candy thermometer to confirm that my liquids are, in fact, at the proper temperature.
Apparently, yeast is as delicate as my nerves. (And poor, poor Sammy the goldfish.)
After several moments of fierce internal debate, I decided that “warm” was be the temperature of a baby’s bottle of milk, and proceeded with my mission to make (burger-free) buns.
The process was easier than I expected. My yeast foamed up exactly as it should when combined with the “warm” milk, water and sugar. The dough hook whipped the – praise the Lord – live mixture into my flour, butter and egg with an agility that makes me wonder how anyone makes bread without it. And when I peered underneath the cloth covering my rising dough, it was as elastic and pillowy as a posturepedic mattress.
It’s enough to make me think that maybe I do have business baking burger buns.
Even if I do stuff them with chickpea and quinoa burgers.
Light Brioche Buns Recipe
Time: 1 hour, plus 2 to 4 hours’ rising
Light Brioche Buns Ingredients
3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2½ tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
2½ tablespoons unsalted butter, softened.
Light Brioche Buns Directions:
1. In a glass measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, beat 1 egg.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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. Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Yield: 8 buns
Adapted from New York Times recipe from Hidefumi Kubota, Comme Ça, Los Angeles
Things We Used to Bake Light Brioche Buns:
- KitchenAid Artisan 5-Quart Stand Mixer
- KitchenAid Stand Mixer Dough Hook Attachment (comes standard with mixer)
- Large Baking Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Dough Scraper