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.

 

 

 

 

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Montreal-style Bagels

My effort at producing multigrain bagels two weeks ago was less successful than I’d hoped (I deleted that blog post) so my challenge last Wednesday, before Thanksgiving, was to perfect a chewy bagel that would rival those from the best bagel bakeries of my youth.

Once again I turned to a recipe from the NYT Cooking site for inspiration, and found a recipe for Montreal Bagels, chewy and with a hint of sweetness.  I was surprised to find the dough contained elements of a challah – sweetener and eggs – albeit in lesser proportion to the flour – and required only two very short rises before their boiling bath and baking.

I made several adjustments to the NYT recipe, making 9 large bagels versus 18 small ones, reducing the baking time to prevent burning of the undersides, using less honey in the dough  From start to finish, this took about 1-1/2 hours, and the verdict was unanimous – best bagels we’ve ever had.

 

MONTREAL-STYLE BAGELS

adapted from NYT Cooking site

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INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 cups room temperature water

14 grams SAF Instant yeast (or 2 packets other instant yeast)

1 tsp sugar

2-1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk

1/4 cup vegetable oil + a bit more for greasing bowl

2/3 cup honey divided

5-1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour (or other bread flour)

3 quarts water for boiling

sesame and/or poppy seeds for sprinkling on top

TOOLS:

Stand mixer with 5-quart bowl and dough hook

A separate large bowl

Heavy wooden spoon or spatula

2 rimmed baking sheets lined with parchment paper

5-quart pot

A bread board or similar work surface

Kitchen scale – very helpful if you have one to make the bagels equal size

Large slotted spoon

PREPARATION:

  1. In the large mixing bowl of stand mixer, combine the water, yeast, sugar and salt.  Stir in the egg and egg yolk, oil and 1/3 cup of the honey and mix well by hand.
  2. Add 5 cups of flour one cup at a time, stirring by hand, and then knead with the dough hook to form a soft, supple dough (about 8 minutes).  Add remaining 1/2 cup of flour a couple of minutes into the kneading.
  3. Lightly grease another large bowl with oil and use a spatula to turn the dough out into it.  Cover tightly with plastic and let rest 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring the 3 quarts water and remaining 1/3 cup honey to boil, then reduce and cover to keep simmering until you’re ready to use. Preheat oven to 450º.
  5. Punch down the dough and remove it to bread board.  The dough should weigh about 1300 grams.  Divide it into 9 equal pieces, about 145 grams each.
  6. Roll each piece into a ball, flatten slightly and poke a hole through the middle with your thumb.  Work the dough around the whole with your fingers to enlarge it and place the shaped dough on parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving room between.  Only 6 will fit on one sheet, place the remaining 3 on the other.  Let them rest about 15 minutes.
  7. Return pot of water to gentle boil and drop 3 bagels in.  They will float.  flip them over with a large slotted spoon and continue to boil for a little over a minute.  Remove with the slotted spoon, place them back on the parchment-lined baking sheets and immediately sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds.  Repeat this process for all nine.
  8. Bake first batch on center rack of oven for 20 minutes, to a deep golden brown -then repeat with second batch.  Remove to a cooling rack as soon as each batch is done.

These keep well in a plastic bag in your breadbox for 6 days, or can be sliced and frozen.

 

 

Hearty Multigrain Multiseed Bread

Yes, bread baking can be addictive.  Having stocked up on my favorite Bob’s Red Mill flours and having baked both a Sesame Semolina loaf and an Artisan crusty loaf in the past three days, I was inspired to harken back to my favorite, most toothsome loaf first created before I started this blog in the winter of 2015.

This is another loaf that employs the magic of Dutch oven baking, and, because I love the texture and seedfullness of this loaf for sandwiches, I make it a very large boule – a full 2-1/2 lbs.  Yes, it can be halved with minor adjustment to the baking time, but it also freezes beautifully if you want to cut half and store it.

Hearty Multigrain Multiseed Bread

 

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INGREDIENTS:

 

1/2 cup Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf

2 cups boiling water

1 tbsp SAF instant yeast or other quick-acting yeast

2 cups AP flour

1-2/3 cups whole wheat flour

2/3 cup semolina flour or rye flour

2 tbsp vital wheat gluten

1 tbsp brown sugar

1 tbsp olive oil

1-1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Seeds: mix together 2 tsp each sesame, poppy, flax and caraway and 1-1/2 tbsp sunflower

1 egg white lightly beaten

TOOLS:

Stand mixer with 5-quart bowl, paddle attachment, and dough hook

another 5-quart mixing bowl

7-quart cast iron Dutch oven

parchment paper

cooling rack

DIRECTIONS:

Place Kashi pilaf in stand mixer bowl and pour the boiling water over it.  let sit until lukewarm, about 18 minutes.  Meanwhile, in your other bowl combine all the flours, sugar, 1-1/2 tsp salt, and all but 1 tbsp of the seed mix.

Sprinkle 1 tbsp yeast over the cooled water/Kashi mix and add 1 cup of the flour mixture, stirring until smooth.  Using the paddle attachment on your mixture, gradually add the remaining flour on low speed to form your dough.  Cover with plastic wrap or cotton towel and let rest 15 minutes, then need with your dough hook at #2 speed for 10 minutes.

Lightly oil the 5 quart mixing bowl, add the dough, cover and let rise about one hour until doubled.  On a floured surface, punch the dough down and shape into a boule.  Place a large piece of parchment into your 5-quart bowl, move the boule onto the parchment-lined bowl, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with the remaining tbsp reserved seeds mixed with 1/2 tsp kosher salt.  Cut three shallow slashes with a sharp knife across the top.  Cover again and let rest 30 minutes.

Place your Dutch oven in the center of your oven and preheat to 450.  After 30 minutes, very carefully move the loaf in its sling into your Dutch oven, place the lid back on, reduce oven temperature to 400 and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove the lid and bake another 25 minutes until crust is a deep golden brown.  Internal dough temperature should be 200-205.

Set loaf on a rack to cool and enjoy after about an hour.