Brioche. Brioche Brioche. Nothing is better than a toasted brioche bun. I often wish that “fresh brioche bun” was a candle scent. Especially when I don’t have a ton of time to bake. The smell of fresh bread is undefeated.
This dough is “enriched” with the addition of butter, milk and eggs. More ingredients than a normal yeast raised bun. But it’s not too enriched, more on that later. It’s a multipurpose bun recipe that’s nice to have in your back pocket to impress. For Sunday dinner a couple weeks ago, we decided to make pulled pork sandwiches at home and while this was an all day affair, and I am not going to lie: I managed to impress myself.
What makes a brioche bun, light? Well, the fine people at the New York Times don’t explain it, but I am guessing it is because the recipe calls for less butter and eggs than you usually find in traditional brioche recipes. I’ve seen 10 tablespoons of butter and 3 eggs (or more!). In this case “light” does not mean that you are sacrificing taste. Instead you have all of the benefits of brioche (richness and that shiny top!) combined with a bun strong enough to hold all of the goods.
The original recipe instructions are to mix by hand. Beware: THIS DOUGH IS STICKY If you don’t have a stand mixer, I’m not saying it’s impossible. I am just saying that you might hate your life the entire time. You will not relieve your stress kneading this sticky dough. You’re more likely to create a new source of stress, because honestly kneading this by hand was a hot mess. How do I know? Because I was in super test mode and tried the recipe both ways. #TeamStand Mixer
If you do mix by hand: DO NOT ADD FLOUR TO YOUR COUNTERTOP. While a little flour will solve your immediate problem of sticky hands, the extra flour will change the consistency of your buns creating problems you don’t need, okay?
If you’re struggling with the stickiness, I suggest the Paul Hollywood trick of spraying the counter with a bit of cooking spray. The little bit of oil will help you contain the mess until the dough starts to come together. [Please note: This trick only works for enriched dough. If you spray the countertop while making a sourdough you will have a mess]
A light brioche recipe perfect for pulled pork
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 tablespoons warm milk
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 3 cups bread flour
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter softened
In a glass measuring cup, whisk the water, milk, yeast and sugar. Set aside to activate the yeast, about 5 minutes.
Beat one egg and set aside.
In a bowl of a stand mixer, whisk flours with salt. Add butter. Using your fingers, rub int the butter to pea sized. Connect the bowl to stand mixer and fit with dough hook. On the lowest speed stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Increase speed on mixer to medium and knead the dough until it begins to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl, about 10-15 minutes. The dough should be less sticky and be able to hold it’s shape in the next step.
On a clean counter, scrape the dough out of the bowl taking care to get all of the dough out of the bowl. Shape the dough into a ball and return it to the bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place, with no drafts, for 90 minutes or doubled in size.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8-10 equal parts. Shape each piece into a ball, taking care to not completely deflate the dough. Place the buns 3 inches apart on the baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place (at least 70 degrees) for 1 to 2 hours.
20 minutes before you are ready to bake, arrange the racks in the oven to have one rack on the middle level and one on the bottom level. Fill a 9×13 inch baking pan with water and place it on the bottom rack. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Whisk the remaining egg and brush each roll with egg wash right before putting them in the oven.
Bake the rolls for 15-20 minutes. Transfer rolls immediately to a wire rack to cool.