I wanted to call these ‘Bouncing Baby Boy Barbecue Brioche Buns’ in honour of a certain little chap who’s just emerged into the world, but it might have been stretching the allure of alliteration to its limit. In any case; cheers to you Arthur!
Brioche buns seem to be all the rage right now; and Matt and I are definitely on board too – brioche board, you might say. They’re popular, not only as a traditional French-style breakfast treat, but also for burger buns and the like. It sounds a bit weird at first, but the soft, bouncy texture works brilliantly with a crustily charred, moist burger and soaks up all the juices nicely.
Being an enriched dough, not only with butter but a bit of sugar too, it’s slightly sweet – another reason that it balances out an intensely savoury meat so well. Mmmm.
When trying to re-create this mouth-watering barbecue delight at home I’ve been frustrated at the lack of ‘burger bun’ shaped brioche offerings. Stores tend to sell them as small sausage shaped ‘rolls’ or else a large loaf shape for slicing (pah!) and I’ve been resorting to cobbling together a shape that only vaguely fits the bill. However, only if you shove it in your face quick enough (else it tends to fall apart), but I’m not the speediest of eaters and so this has been less than ideal.
The solution was, therefore, obvious: make my own!
Last weekend was my first attempt, but I wasn’t very impressed with the results. I used a recipe from a blog I follow – by a French lady, no less and so I had every confidence in its authenticity. However, my main motivation for using said recipe was that it took only a few hours to make and, given that I wanted to eat them for dinner that day to accompany some slow roast pork, it needed to be quite speedy. Other recipes needed almost a day from start to finish…shocking, I know! This lady’s recipe used only plain flour, as opposed to strong white flour, which I was surprised by, but, like I said, she was French…it was her mother’s recipe…she must know what she’s talking about, non? Turns out, she didn’t, or else I didn’t follow the recipe correctly (it was a little on the vague side).
Anyhow, I was resolved to have another go but this time I used the trusty Paul Hollywood recipe, which calls for copious amounts of butter, strong bread flour and time…I wanted to do it right. And it was worth the effort.
I used the left over barbecue flavoured pork, mixed with spring onions and some char siu sauce (same recipe as in my Asian Inspired Sausage Rolls) and encased it with the buttery dough. Once baked, it was everything I hoped it would be. I shall definitely be making these again!
Cooks notes: Monsieur Hollywood instructs to refrigerate the dough ‘overnight, or for at least seven hours’ after it’s been kneaded. Given that I’m a busy working girl this didn’t suit me and so I left it in the ‘fridge for 24 hours before shaping the buns and giving them their second proving. This seemed to work perfectly well and I simply removed the dough from the ‘fridge an hour or so before knocking back and shaping.
Furthermore, I don’t believe you can make this dough without a stand mixer as it’s such a wet dough. In any case it’s certainly a lot easier with one and I wouldn’t attempt it otherwise.
Brioche dough (Paul Hollywood’s recipe)
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g salt
- 50g caster sugar
- 10g instant yeast
- 140ml warm full-fat milk
- 5 medium eggs (I used 4 very large eggs)
- 250g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
Filling (Mandy’s recipe)
- Left over roast pork, or other meat (lamb or chicken would be nice)
- 4-5 spring onions, finely sliced
- Char Siu sauce, enough to thoroughly coat the meat
- Couple of dashes of toasted sesame oil
- 1 egg mixed with a little water to glaze
- Sesame seeds to sprinkle
Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and put the flour into the bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast on the other side.
Mix the eggs with the milk to combine then add it to the flour and mix on a low speed for 2 minutes. Increase to a medium speed and continue to mix for a further 6-8 minutes, by which time you should have a soft elastic dough.
Next, add the soft butter in separate knobs and continue to mix for 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl every now and then to incorporate all the sticky bits. The dough will still be very soft after this time, but it should be a nice coherent and elastic mass.
Plop it out into a separate bowl (Mr Hollywood specifies ‘plastic bowl’ so do as you’re told), cover and chill in the refrigerator. As mentioned above, this can be overnight, or seven hours, or 24 hours – the butter just needs to firm up.
When you’re ready to make the buns remove from the ‘fridge and leave to one side.
Mix up the filling ingredients and make sure you’re loving the taste. Use plenty of sauce as this will be the hidden treasure inside the buttery brioche.
Paul uses a 25cm round deep cake tin, which he instructs to grease with butter. My tins are quite a bit smaller and so I used two smaller tins, as I didn’t necessarily want a single unit of bread. You can do as you please, of course, and use whatever tins you have.
Tip the chilled dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute to knock out the air.
I wanted my buns to be individuals (as, indeed, they were) and so divided the dough into nine, although an even number would be easier…
Take each portion of dough and roll out into a small ‘circle’ then place a tablespoon of the filling into the middle and bring the sides up and over the filling, sealing it as best you can.
Shape into a round ‘bun’ and place into your greased tin.
Repeat with each portion of dough then cover and leave to prove for another 2-3 hours. The dough should have plumped up nicely and filled the tins to capacity, depending on the size of your tins (use your judgement).
Heat your oven to 190 deg (170 FAN).
Brush the buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using.
Bake for 20-30 minutes then remove from oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
Eat while still warm…mmmm.
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