Pipe Dream #129: To Psychiatrize Yeast – Brioche Hamburger Buns

My mum has this thing about yeast. They’re not friends. I mean, they’ve had a few interactions over the years, but it’s always been at arms’ length, really, and it hasn’t always been the most positive of experiences. I’m just an outside observer, so I don’t know all the emotional ins-and-outs and finger-pointing that has gone on, but I don’t really get it.

Since the day I made a brioche at age 12, we’ve gotten along fine. There have only been a couple of instances where yeast has flaked on me, but it was probably just a passive aggressive reaction to me putting the heat on. It takes two to tango, they say.

As it happens, my mother is a pretty competitive person, especially when it comes to burgers. She learned how to make them in the Old Country, er, Canada. When the neighbors announced that they were having a burger competition, she jumped at the chance to show off her skills.

But what to pair with a beautiful BLT turkey burger with homemade ranch? Heaven knows she wasn’t going to buy your average white hamburger buns from Cub, not with me in the house. So after wheedling her way into my affections (Our conversation: “Hey Lo, wanna make some hamburger buns for me?” “Sure!”), I became an enabler once more. That is, I enabled her to produce an outstanding burger while also enabling her to avoid her yeast pseudo-friend once again.

I’m calling it baby steps. Someday she will see that yeast is all right. It is not as high maintenance as she makes it out to be. Until then, you should make these. They are really tasty.

I’m being repressed,

L

Light Brioche Burger Buns

Adapted from Comme Ça restaurant in Los Angeles, via the New York Times via smitten kitchen

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger 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
Sesame seeds, dried thyme, poppy seeds or sea salt, for garnish

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one 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 a floured surface and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be sticky, but that is a good thing. Don’t want tough buns.

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, one to two 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 two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (I needed about one hour, but I let it go a bit longer.)

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with chosen garnish (I liked the thyme best), if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

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6 Responses to “Pipe Dream #129: To Psychiatrize Yeast – Brioche Hamburger Buns”


  1. 1 Bert Tisher August 15, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Gramma Greenthumb LOL. wants the recipe.

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  1. 1 Pipe Dream #144: To Emulate, Appreciate – Beignets « piping dreams Trackback on October 17, 2012 at 9:04 am
  2. 2 Pipe Dream #175: To Interpret Ambiguous Phrasing – Grandma’s Fabulous Orange Buns « piping dreams Trackback on February 20, 2013 at 8:31 am
  3. 3 Pipe Dream #228: To Deliver the Shockers – Pecan Brioche Sticky Buns | piping dreams Trackback on October 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

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