If you’re a regular reader, you have probably noticed that I don’t really bake. I’m just not that interested in it. I don’t like the use of exact measurements because I like to cook by taste, and you can’t really taste raw batter. I’m also not really into sweets, or baked goods (with the exception of most pies), and I never have the right ingredients on hand. But I think I’ve found something that I might actually enjoy baking, thanks to my new neighbor, who shall be known as The Captain from this point forth.
Until recently, the only food I had tasted that The Captain made was some lemon cake. It was pretty good, but like I said: I’m not really into sweets. I could tell that he put love and thought and a little experimentation into it, so when he invited me over for sweet potato fries and lamb burgers with homemade brioche buns earlier this week, I graciously accepted with intrigue. I was even more intrigued when he told me that he found the recipes on Pinterest – which I have also mainly used for food inspiration.
As I chopped herbs and assembled some tzatziki sauce, he taught me some basics about how yeast works. The Captain heated the milk and explained to me how it needs to cool down a bit before adding the egg and yeast so that they don’t cook. And then I watched him mix all the ingredients in a KitchenAid and knead the dough and cut it into pieces, and I thought, “hey, this doesn’t look so bad.”
40 Minute Brioche Buns (makes 8-12 buns)
- 1 1/4 cups milk, warmed (about 110F)
- 2 TB instant yeast
- 2 TB sugar
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg
- 3 1/4 cups to 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 egg plus 1 tsp water for egg wash
- poppy seeds or sesame seeds for topping
In the bowl of a mixer, gently stir together milk, yeast, sugar, melted butter and egg. Add in 3 1/4 cups of flour and the salt, then mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until combined. Then switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add in more flour within the first minutes if it appears too wet and sticky, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Divide the dough into about 12 pieces, or less for larger buns, and shape into a ball. Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a dark towel and let rise for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile whisk the extra egg and water together and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Once the dough has risen, brush the balls with the egg wash and sprinkle with seeds (I did this part and I rocked it). Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden, then remove from oven and set on a cooling rack. You can freeze the extra buns in a ziploc bag or air tight container.
The buns were so light and delicious, and were infinitely better than store bought buns! And only forty minutes to make – I mean, why wouldn’t you make your own buns? He served the brioche buns with a modified version of these lamb burgers, which were excellent. We also made some sweet potato fries with garlic oil, which were tasty but I urged The Captain to go for disc cuts the next time. The following night he texted me a photo of round sweet potato fries and told me that they were much better, so we both taught each other something! Now I just need to invest in some of my own sugar, flour, and yeast.