We are slowly but sure moving everything into the new place bit by bit, and this Saturday I’m going to venture out into the garden with a rototiller and finally get my tomatoes in the ground. Really hoping it won’t be too late to have my heirlooms later this summer, but with the Oregon weather it’s always a toss up. There’s nothing quite like a thick, ripe slice of tomato on a juicy burger with a melted slice of cheese and a golden brioche bun. Maybe I was just antsy for summer barbecues, but I decided I’d practice ahead of time and try my hand at making one of those shiny and delicious baked goods a couple weeks back. And I was especially excited because I was able to shoot with my grain measure and basket from Europe2You, which I’d been dying to use for weeks but kept having to go out of town for shoots. I can’t wait to start using the basket out in the garden this summer once I’m able to start picking all the ripe fruits and veggies, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing its cute little basket-face again once those heirloom tomatoes fill in.
But back to brioche; brioche buns are known for being rich and golden, and this is because of the large number of eggs that are worked into the dough. And the hearty coating of egg wash helps a good amount, too. The result is a soft, tender, flakey bun that shines with the warmth of 1000 suns (well, maybe not 1000 suns, but you get the general idea.) Now, I understand why you would wonder “Eva, why would I spend a couple hours making brioche when I could just buy some buns at the store?” and the answer to that question is that most store-bought buns are absolutely terrible. Unless you’re getting them from an actual bakery, the buns in those plastic bags in the bread aisle are ridiculously smooshy to the point of being able to be wadded up into a dough-ish ball, and they’re pumped with preservatives. The brioche, on the other hand, are utterly delicious and form-keeping. Also, most of the time it takes to make them is just letting the dough rise, during which you can feel free to chain-watch the new episodes of Orange is the New Black, wash dishes, walk the dog, or accomplish any number of exciting things! So, if you want to eat a bun that tastes just as good as the meat inside of it, I cannot recommend making the bun from scratch highly enough. Plus, just look at these guys. If a brioche housing doesn’t scream tasty gourmet burger I just don’t know what does.
Whisk the yeast in warm water and allow to sit for a few minutes until the test is dissolved. Now whisk in 1/2 cup of the flour to form a thin paste. You’ve made a poolish. Let the poolish rise in a warm place out of direct sunlight until the dough has risen and fallen and is full of bubbles, about 1 hour.
After the dough has risen and fallen, add the eggs, sugar, salt and the rest of the flour to the poolish. Knead the dough until it becomes smooth, adding a bit more flour if the dough becomes too sticky. Then add the butter and knead until it is completely combined and the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm place out of direct sunlight until doubled, about 1 to 2 hours depending on the temperature of the room (colder = more time warmer = less time).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Farenheit. Cut the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll into balls, taking the corner of each ball and pulling it towards the center, then pressing gently to keep it there and flipping the ball over so that the tight domed surface of the ball is facing upwards. Place the roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and repeat with each ball. Let the rolls rise until half doubled (about 30 minutes).
Brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash and bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden on the top and bottom of the buns. Remove and allow to cool before serving.