Soft, slightly sweet and a perfect foil for a hearty filling, these brioche-style burger buns are my go-to whenever I want to make the buns from scratch.
For the first episode of BBC1’s Best Home Cook , our first challenge was to cook our Ultimate Burger, along with a selection of sides: a great way for us to be “broken into” the series.
On the programme I made one of my favourite burgers (harissa lamb and Feta burgers), and was beyond thrilled at the comments from the judges. However, my back-up dish – a burger I also make a lot at home – was hoisin chicken burger:
These buns are essentially a cross between a brioche, a baked doughnut and a standard yeasted bun: soft, slightly sweet and buttery – perfect for any burger.
About the recipe
I use a mixture of standard plain flour and strong plain flour which gives the right texture of softness inside, but they work well with all strong plain flour.
I often make a batch and freeze half of it for use at another time, freezing once it has been shaped (stage 4 of the recipe). For ease, put the balls onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof and pop inside a bag before transferring to a freezer.
I sometimes make these using 80ml olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil (or half and half) in place of the butter, and use 3-4 egg yolks rather than a whole egg. The whites freeze beautifully.
Recipe: my ultimate burger buns – makes 12
- 120g plain flour
- 120g strong plain flour
- 10g instant yeast
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 70g caster sugar
- 80g unsalted butter, melted
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 150ml cold milk
- 1 egg yolk mixed with a little milk
- a few teaspoons of sesame seeds or poppy seeds, optional
(1) Mix the flours, yeast, salt and sugar together in a bowl. Add the butter, egg and most of the milk, and mix well to form a fairly soft dough, adding more milk if the mixture is too dry: the dough should be able to hold its shape without collapsing, but should not be too stiff.
(2) Knead until the dough is smooth and slightly elastic for about 15 minutes, either by hand on a lightly floured work surface or in the food mixer with the dough hook attachment.
(3) Cover the bowl with a damp cloth or pop inside a plastic bag and place in the fridge overnight.
NB: the chilling forces the yeast to work very slowly, which will give the best flavour in the final buns. Alternatively, leave at room temperature for a couple of hours or until roughly doubled in size.
(4) Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 12 pieces. Take a piece and knead lightly before shaping into a ball. Repeat for the other pieces.
(5) Place the dough an inch or so apart on baking sheets lined with greaseproof. Pop inside a large bin liner and leave at room temperature until roughly doubled inside. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200C (fan).
(6) Uncover the risen dough and brush liberally with beaten egg. Sprinkle over seeds, if using, and bake for 20-25 minutes until deep golden and hollow-sounding underneath. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.