Sunday, August 9, 2015
Catch-up Week: Brioche Hamburger Buns
The best restaurants in the country have started to try to outdo each other on specialty hamburgers. Each restaurant claims to have the most fabulous burger in the world, and often the claim to fame rests on the carefully constructed bun. Often it's a brioche bun. So, of course, it was inevitable that someone would start the counter-bun movement. Anthony Bourdain, for example, tweeted that "No hamburger has ever been improved by a brioche bun." Wow. No hamburger. Ever. In the history of the universe.
So apparently I was too late with these buns because the brioche backlash has already begun. Luckily, Anthony Bourdain will never come to my house for Sunday grilled hamburgers. Juicy beef, thick slices of farmer's market tomatoes and frilly lettuce, melted smoked gouda, and, ta-da, the infamous brioche bun!
I've made this brioche often enough that I can almost do it without checking the recipe. But I always forget what a small amount of flour is in this bread, so it was good I didn't actually follow through on my internal boast about not needing the recipe.
I do know it takes me three days to make this brioche, whether as buns or bread, so I started on Friday, making the sponge and flour mixture, and letting it slowly bubble in the refrigerator overnight. After various steps on Saturday, Sunday was finally the day to shape the buns. No, they don't look promising at this point.
But after being slashed and brushed with egg yolk and cream wash and baked, they look quite presentable. I did cut the total amount of sugar in half because I didn't want the buns to be too sweet. I wanted a bun that was soft but crusty, flavorful but not overpowering, and I think I got it.
The inside of the bun is soft, but it's crusty enough to encounter meet juices without dissolving.
I've never bought a hamburger bun that was as good as this one. I don't suppose I'll ordinarily plan three days ahead to start making hamburger buns, but it's not a crazy thing to do. The hamburger would have been good on any bread-ish vehicle, but I do believe that I just met a hamburger that was improved by a brioche bun. Take that, Anthony Bourdain!