Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Brioche Bun Adventure

I have a bad habit of deciding to do something ridiculously ambitious, and deciding to do it rather late at night. How else to explain why Sean and I were eating dinner at 9:30 on Saturday except to say that I was the kind of kid who did always the extra credit assignment.

Saturday's mission: sirloin sliders on Smitten Kitchen's brioche burger buns. The process ended up following my standard cooking plot: careful diligent following at the beginning, one moment of doubt, great disaster in the middle, ended up happily. 

Mix warm milk, warm water, active dry yeast and sugar. Right from the start, I was concerned my milk was too hot and wondered if that would have an might have, and maybe it didn't. I guess I'll find out the next time I try this recipe!

Mix bread flour, all-purpose flour and salt. (for precise measurements, please follow Deb's instructions...I'm just here to show you the myriad ways things can go wrong.)

Add 2 and a half tablespoons of softened butter.

The directions say to rub the butter in with your fingers to create crumbs. I was dubious, thinking surely she meant to use the mixer, but I kept on with it.

I stirred in the foamy yeast mixture and the beat egg and almost immediately noticed the "dough" was more like a batter. Um...not a good sign. But like the unsinkable Molly Brown, I occasionally have a bad trait of not recognizing signs of danger, and I pressed forward and poured the batter-like dough onto my floured counter with a splat. To say it was sticky is a massive understatement. I think this was the inspiration for Nickelodean's Gak.

I was able, after slathering flour all over my hands, to get the dough into a workable form and moved it back to the original bowl. I left it alone for an hour and it had already doubled.

I put it under plastic wrap sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Hey, hey. We might not need to make a run to the grocery section of Target after all...

IT WORKED! That gloopy mess turned into brioche! But...let's not go crazy...still fairly oversized, flat-ish brioche.

And after all that, the buns inevitably were too big for the mini sliders, for which I used a mini slider press. Sometimes it's important to take action to recognize signs of defeat before it's too late, and that's definitely something I need to work on.

It's hard to say whether I'll try the brioche adventure again. It does make a sturdy, delicious bun, but it's somewhat difficult to get perfect slider-size will take some time to perfect, I think. BUT I think it would KILL at a fancy Fourth of July party, like the one I've fantasized about throwing since forever.

LATER TODAY I'll post about the sirloin sliders themselves.


Elizabeth said...

Oh, you win, Amber. Those look pretty darn good.
It could be that a smidge more flour could have helped, or that your oven could have been 2 degrees hotter. Who knows?
BTW -- you have a thermometer, no? If the liquids are around 105-110 degrees, you're OK. The internet tells me yeast dies at 120 degrees. My mom always told me to shoot for 105. But if the milk or water is cold, that's fine, too. Just, the dough rises more slowly.

Amber said...

omigosh Liz, I did not know ANY of that. It's amazing I get as lucky as I do, because I still know so little.