“Sun’s out, bun’s out” as they say : ) Summer is finally here, it is the BBQ season and you absolutely have to give these buns a try. Trust me, you need them in your life : )
I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who didn’t like burgers, I mean c’mon what’s not to like. A burger with the juiciest patty that you have to hold with both hands & take a bite from all around to prevent the filling falling out… is just the best thing in the world. A burger with the perfect bun, onions caramelised ever so slowly, crunchy lettuce, a slice of beef tomato and of course pickled gherkins… You know what I’m talking about, right?
My husband and I like to organise our trips around food, search for the best local cuisine and eat the way the locals do. After which we look for two things in particular, two things that we are passionate about… pizza and burger. We look for the best that the place we are visiting can offer. It is just amazing to see the respect and attention the simple burger has been getting in the last decade or so. It became much more than fast food and a quick fix to your hunger. We see it more and more on the menus of famous restaurants where starred chefs will offer you their best burger.
In my opinion for a good burger, the burger bun is just as important as the patty. Just think about it; you get the best meat for your patties. Season it well, grill it to perfection so it’s pink and juicy and then you put it in a shop bought, standard burger bun that’s chewy, rubbery and breaks apart when you fill it up. I rather just eat the patty as is to be honest with you.
My search for the perfect burger bun has ended years ago when I came across an article on The New York Times: The Perfect Burger & All It’s Parts. I’m usually a little sceptical when I see the words “perfect, the best, ultimate etc.” in the title and don’t keep my expectations high. But as it was the NYTimes saying this, it was easier to trust. The article talks about the best burgers around, especially the one they serve at Comme Ça in LA. The restaurants pastry chef Hidefumi Kubota came up with this perfect bun recipe after 14 trials. A perfect bun for him should not be too soft that it will fall apart or too hard that it will crush the patty. It had to be big enough to hold the meat and the rest but not too big that it would be difficult to take a bite… So he created this light, brioche bun and I am addicted to it : )
It is really quite simple to make especially if you have a stand mixer. You can also knead the dough by hand but as it is very soft and sticky you might want to add more flour. DON’T DO IT ! Stick to the recipe, more flour will produce a tough bun. You will find a dough scraper very handy, if you have one.
The recipe makes eight buns, never mind that I only have six on the sheet : ) When you put them on a standard sheet all eight of them fits comfortably. If you leave them for too long for the second rise the buns might spread a little. No need to worry, you can reshape them.
Light, buttery, only slightly sweet and a perfect bun for all your sandwiches and burgers…
- 1 cup warm water
- 3 Tbs warm milk (45 ml)
- 2 tsp active dry yeast (I use instant)
- 2 ½ Tbs granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 3 cups strong bread flour (420 gr)
- ⅓ cup AP flour (47 gr)
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 ½ Tbs butter, softened
- FOR TOPPING
- 1 large egg
- 1 Tbs water or milk
- sesame seeds
- Mix 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Place the flours and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix in the butter on the lowest speed.
- Drizzle in the liquid mixture as the machine is running and finally add in the beaten egg.
- Knead for 7-8 minutes.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 2 hours.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into 8 equal parts using a dough scraper. Gently roll each piece into a ball and arrange 2 to 3 inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let buns rise in a warm place for 1 to 2 hours.
- Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (200 C).
- Beat remaining egg with 1 Tbs water or milk and brush on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
- Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15-18 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- To prepare the dough by hand; mix the milk, water, yeast and sugar in a measuring jug.
- Place the flours and salt in a bowl and mix.
- 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.
- Transfer dough onto an unfloured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic. About 8 to 10 minutes.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Proceed as above.
Cooking time can slightly vary in your oven.
These buns freeze really well, just place in a freezer bag. Defrost at room temp and enjoy them as if they were freshly baked.
You should stick to the recipe and use kitchen scales. As I said before the dough will be very soft and sticky, please DO NOT add more flour.
After you brush buns with the egg wash you can top them with various seeds like nigella, sunflower seeds, poppy seeds etc. or just leave them plain.
Recipe by Hidefumi Kubota and taken from New York Times.