Light Brioche Buns from NYT

Making a tavern-style hearty burger at home has always been one of my favorite quick dinners, and there was a time when the only buns that could stand up to a juicy 8-ounce patty were the brioche buns that Whole Foods now sells for $1.50 apiece.

But then, New York Times Cooking site came to the rescue.  So now, in keeping with my months-long commitment to home-baked breads, I can reproduce six of those hearty buns – with sesame seeds for added interest – for about the store-bought price of just one.

This recipe is adapted from the one on the NYT site.  My modifications are to make just 6 instead of the recommended 8, to add the sesame seeds, and to increase the baking time a couple of minutes because of the larger size.

Some of my friends are already baking these also, and have sworn off the store-bought bun forever, so why not try this……..

Hearty Sesame Brioche Buns

(adapted from NYT Cooking)

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INGREDIENTS:

3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1-1/2 tsp kosher salt

2-1/2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 cup warm water

3 tbsp warm milk

2-1/2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp SAF instant yeast, or other active dry yeast

2 large eggs

Sesame seeds

PREPARATION:

In a glass measuring cup, combine the water, milk, sugar and yeast and let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, beat one of the eggs.

In the large bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flours and salt, and add butter by rubbing in with your fingers until crumbly.  Add the yeast mixture and the beaten egg, and use the flat blade of your mixer to stir until a soft dough forms, then switch to dough hook and run mixer for 8 minutes on medium low to knead the dough.  Shape dough into a ball and cover with plastic, let rise until doubled 1-2 hours.  The full 2 hours realy makes a difference in texture, so be patient.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and divide dough into 6 pieces.  A kitchen scale comes in handy here, as you’ll have 30 ounces of dough and each bun should be 5 ounces.  Roll each piece into a ball and place with ample separation on your parchment-lined baking sheet.  cover with a cotton towel or napkin and let rise again 1–2 hours (prefereably 2).

Set a large shallow pan on bottom rack of oven and fill halfway with water.  Preheat oven to 400.  Beat remaining egg with 1 tbsp water.

Brush the risen buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds to taste.  Place rack in center of oven and bake for 17 minutes.  Enjoy the luscious aroma of baking bread in your oven, then remove and cool on a rack for about an hour.

This may sound like a lot of steps, but trust me – it’s very little hands-on time, and so much worth the effort.

VARIATION:

you can sbstitute 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour + 1 T vital wheat gluten for 1 cup of the bread flour.  I’ve done this and like the wheatier taste.  Still very light texture.

 

 

 

 

Tsibele Kuchen (Onion Rolls)

My Nana Pearl baked her onion rolls, which she called tsibele kuchen, just about every Friday to have with a roast chicken dinner.  She never measured or weighed, she just knew by handling and observing exactly how much of everything to use and how long each step would take.  When you can still remember how those looked and tasted more than 50 years later, you know they were something special, and the desire to replicate them becomes an imperative.

Over the past several weeks of my bread-baking frenzy, I’ve become addicted not just to the superiority of home-baked breads and rolls, but also to the tactile and olfactory experience of baking.  During this process, some of Nana Pearl’s instincts have been awakened in me, but still I weigh and measure to ensure uniformity of size and baking outcome.  Today I applied the taste memory of her tsibele kuchen to my experience of baking brioche buns and challah.  I also wanted these rolls to be onion-filled, not simply onion topped as hers were, and am feeling a little pleased about how these rolls turned out:

PEARL’S 21st CENTURY ONION ROLLS 

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INGREDIENTS:

1 cup lukewarm water

14 gram SAF instant yeast or one package other quick-rising yeast

4-1/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour or other bread flour

2 large eggs

1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp canola oil

1 tbsp sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

1 medium sweet onion finely diced (about 3/4 cup)

1 egg white whisked with 1 tbsp water

poppy seeds

PREPARATION:

In large bowl of stand mixer, dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water and immediately add 4 cups flour, the 2 eggs lightly beaten, 1/4 cup of the oil, the sugar and salt.  Use paddle attachment to combine thoroughly, and then switch to dough hook and run on medium-low speed for 10 minutes, adding additional 1/4 cup of flour once a sticky dough begins to form.  Lightly grease another large (5 quart) bowl and turn the dough out into it.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise 1 to 1-1/2 hours until doubled.

Meanwhile, lightly sauté the onions in remaining canola oil until just softened and remove to a small bowl.

Preheat oven to 375º and place a shallow pan filled halfway with water on bottom rack.*

Divide into 6-8 equal pieces (I made 7) and roll each into a ball.  (Dough will weigh about 1 kilo (1,000 grams).  Flatten each ball into a disk about 5″ and place about 1 tbsp of the onions in center of each, leaving a little bit of the onion mixture to sprinkle on top.  As you’re working, the dough will continue to puff up a bit.  Flatten out the edges a little more and pull the edges over the onion fill to completely encase, cradling in your hands to form a spherical bun.

Place the buns on a sheet of parchment paper on a large baking sheet, press down gently to flatten a bit, brush all over the with egg wash, and sprinkle each with a bit of the remaining onions and some poppy seeds.  Let rest about 15 minutes, then bake on center rack of oven for 20 minutes until golden brown.  Allow to cool on a rack at least an hour.

*NOTE: the pan of water creates steam in the oven which helps the rolls rise again and gives the crust a light texture.  If you prefer not to do this, they will bake somewhat flatter and denser.