Monday, 30 July 2012

Twice Baked


On a random day when I have nothing to do I find myself in the kitchen. I love trying out new recipes, and even though my brother is adamant that I burn water, I enjoy being there.

I'm very capable of butchering an onion if I have to finely chop it, and I can’t roll a pizza slicer or draw a knife down in one straight line, BUT I love making food. And it almost always turns out the way I imagine it will (and almost never like the pictures). I’ve been told that real cooks don't bake, and baking is the safe way out because you’re not experimenting with flavoring. Bah I say! If I’ve made it and you eat it - that's enough for me! I'm not competing for a Michelin star.

A few weeks ago, I attempted to make Brioche burger buns for when we went out of town. I like making bread even though it takes so long! Knead it, proof it, shape it, proof it, blink, proof it, etc etc. It took me most of the day to bake these wonderful bready buns but the end result was pretty awesome – if I do say so myself.

I get a lot of kitchen inspiration from smittenkitchen.com and these were just one of the things I came across when messing around on the site.

Brioche Burger Buns – Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (my comments)


Mini ball of dough
I started off rolling the butter into the flour but soon realized there was way too much flour and not enough butter. I ended up adding three times the amount of butter that was asked for before I was satisfied. What I really enjoy about making bread is kneading it and slapping it around on the counter. It’s like a small punching bag that's exclusively for you to destress with. Put the dough into a glass bowl, covered with a damp cloth to proof and go get on with your day. Give the dough three or four hours to rise and when you go back to it, it’ll be magically and wonderfully doubled or even tripled in size!

I struggled with rolling the dough into buns because it was so tacky, but managed to make 8 almost similar sized balls and then had to leave them to proof again! That's when I washed the dough off my hands, dusted the flour out of my hair and went to kickbox. The bread wasn't going anywhere and I was fed up being in my kitchen!

You will need:
3 tablespoons warm milk,
2 teaspoons active dry yeast,
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar,
1 large egg,
3 and 1/3 cups regular flour,
1 1/2 teaspoons salt,
6 tablespoons unsalted butter,
Handful black and white Sesame seeds (optional but very necessary I think)

Step 1
In a measuring cup, combine 1 cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. The milk and water should feel warm to the touch but not hot. Let it foam – (it will take over ten minutes and look like something has gone bad in your glass.) Meanwhile, beat one egg.

Step 2
In a large bowl, mix salt into the flour. Add butter and rub into the flour between your fingers, making crumbs. (All the flour won’t crumb, but I managed to convince myself that it had after 6 tablespoons of butter and squinting my eyes shut.)

Step 3
Mix in the yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and start to knead. It will be very wet and very sticky, so make sure you add enough flour on the counter to avoid that.

Scoop the dough up and start slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes (it took me 5). Remember though that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. (I must have added at least half a cup more than I should have, but managed to keep the dough off the counter.)

Dough in a bowl ready to prove
Step 4
Shape dough into a ball and put it in a glass bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled. (I left it in my kitchen and came back four hours later and presto!)


Really sticky dough!
Step 5 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. (Make sure you sprinkle flour onto the paper other wise the dough will stick. – I didn't do this and the bottoms of my buns stayed pasted to the baking sheet when I tried to pry them off after baking)



Divide the dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Press down on them lightly so they flatten into what will eventually be their burger bun shape. (I went for an almost oval shape and divided the dough into two baking trays)

Once again, cover them with a damp cloth and leave them. (I decided to try spraying oil onto clingwrap instead of the cloth and my poor buns didn't rise. The ones I didn't experiment with rose beautifully. Leave them for a couple of hours again (maybe you could go do your hair?))

 

Step 6
Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seed. Bake until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy enjoy enjoy!!!


My wonderful, yummy, light, sesame seed-y brioche buns