Quick Admin Note #1: I’m back from knee surgery and feeling good! It’s going to be a slow recovery but faster and easier than my ACL recovery so I’m in generally good spirits about it.
Quick Admin Note #2: This is a big week on Macheesmo! I’m launching a new part of the website later in the week and I’m nervous/excited to share it with you all. More to come on this announcement on Wednesday or if you’re on the Macheesmo email list you’ll get a sneak peak of it tomorrow!
Okay. Back to the subject at hand: Buns. I’ve only made one kind of burger bun on Macheesmo before and these are a very different beast from those kaiser rolls. Since these buns are from a brioche dough, they are slightly sweet and have a soft interior crumb but are sturdy enough to hold up to any burger.
The good news is that you don’t need any fancy mixer or anything to make them. Just a little elbow grease will do the trick!
1) In a small bowl, combine warm water, milk, sugar, and yeast. Let this sit for about five minutes until the yeast starts to foam.
2) In a large bowl, stir together flours and salt. Then add in soft butter and rub it into the flour, making a crumb mixture. Stir in yeast mixture next along with the beaten eggs and yolk. Stir the dough until it forms a ball. If it seems really dry, add a bit more water.
3) Scoop the dough onto a clean surface and knead the dough until it's soft and elastic. This will probably take 8-10 minutes. If the dough is sticky at all, knead it a bit more flour.
4) Shape the kneaded dough into a ball and add it to a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a slightly warm place until it doubles which should take 90-120 minutes.
5) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the dough into 12 even sized balls, a little under four ounces per bun is about perfect. Gently roll each bun ball out into a flat disk and lay them a few inches apart on the two baking sheets (6 per sheet). Cover the buns with a loose, slightly damp towel, and let them rise for another hour.
6) Place a shallow pan of boiling water on the bottom of the oven to create a really humid baking environment. Beat egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the egg wash on the buns. THen sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns for about 15-17 minutes, rotating the pans once halfway through. The finished buns should be golden brown.
Let buns cool completely and then serve with your burger of choice!
Recipe adapted from an old New York Times recipe.
A Brioche Dough
I think brioche dough is one of the easier kinds of dough to make because it’s enriched with eggs and milk making it really easy to work with. You still have to knead it and stuff but it’s really soft and easy to knead.
Just to make sure the yeast is dissolved and active, add it to a small cup with the water, sugar, and milk. The water and sugar should be warm, but not hot to the touch. If you want to get specific you are shooting for 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. If you go hotter than that you could kill the yeast.
After a few minutes the yeast should start to bubble and that’s how you know you are in business.
The thing that makes brioche so delicious (think cinnamon rolls) is that it has eggs, milk, and butter in the dough. The butter should be really soft and the eggs should be beaten together. I used two large eggs plus an extra yolk for my version.
To start the dough, stir together the two kinds of dough with the salt. You can use just all-purpose flour if you don’t have bread flour, but your finished buns won’t be as soft as if you use the high-gluten bread flour.
Once the salt and flour is stirred together, use your fingers to work the butter into the flour until it’s in small pieces. There’s not enough butter to make pea-sized pieces like if you were making pie crust, but you should be able to work it into the flour and form a coarse sand of sorts.
Then you can just stir in the eggs and yeast mixture!
Use a big spoon to stir everything together until the dough is in a nice ball.
Then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and start kneading! Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until it’s soft and elastic. If the dough is ever really sticky, knead in a bit more flour. If the dough is very dry, add a bit more water or milk to it. Most likely you’ll have to add more flour, if anything.
Once you’ve kneaded the dough for 10 minutes or so, transfer it to a bowl and cover it loosely with plastic wrap. Let it rise until it at least doubles in size which should take 90-120 minutes.
This was my dough after about a two hour rise.
Shaping and Baking
I knew I wanted about 12 buns out of my dough so I did some quick math and discovered that each bun needed to be about 3.7 ounces. If you aren’t quite as Type A, you could just split the dough into 12 even pieces. Either way works okay.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and shape each dough ball into a rough disk. Place these on the baking sheet with a few inches in between each bun.
Cover these buns with a damp towel and let them all rise for another hour so they get really big and fluffy. Then brush the buns with the egg wash (1 egg whisked with 1 tablespoon water) and sprinkle them generously with sesame seeds.
These guys are ready for the oven!
Bake the buns at 400 degrees F. for about 15-17 minutes until the buns are golden brown around the edges. I recommend rotating the pans once halfway through baking so the buns bake evenly.
These were my finished beauties!
After they cooled, I sliced one in half just to show off the business.
These are not wussy buns. You don’t have to worry about them getting soggy or falling apart. They would hold up to any burger I’ve ever seen.
I used my buns for some pimento cheese turkey burgers that were really tasty.
If you are in the mood for a baking project and having a grill-out, these are fun and worth the work! When it comes to storage, these don’t keep that well. They dry out pretty quickly so it’s best to use them within a few days and I also recommending brushing them with some butter or olive oil and tossing them on the grill for a minute or two to bring them back to life!