Homemade Brioche Buns

Homemade brioche buns make every burger taste better. Up your grill game and learn how to make this delicious recipe the star of your next summer cookout.

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Close up of a golden brioche bun dotted with black sesame seeds and flakey sea salt.
A baking dish with eight brioche buns set on a grey clothe.

Homemade Brioche Buns

There is something decidedly decadent about the golden shine of a perfectly toasted brioche bun. Full of a downright sinful amount of butter, brioche buns are the quintessential topper to an iconic American burger. Fluffy and just a tad sweet, these baked beauties will elevate any sandwich you choose to make, complimenting beef, pork, turkey, veggie, and black bean burgers alike.

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Close up of a golden brioche bun dotted with black sesame seeds and flakey sea salt on a pile of other burger and hot dog buns.

Let It Rise

I have a confession: Bread is my weakness.

I know, could I be more basic? But seriously, I am a full-on sucker for just a fluffy slice of fresh baked bread with a slathering of butter. It’s my comfort zone, and sometimes the only thing I can stomach eating when I’m not feeling well.

You can imagine then how happy the latest bread-baking craze has made me. While I’m usually the first to patronize my favorite local bakery (Bread & Buttercream in Northern Delaware if you’re curious), being home has opened up a lot of time that is perfect for experimenting with bread baking at home. As many have started to learn for themselves, the task isn’t necessarily difficult, or even actively time consuming if you are lucky enough to have a stand mixer with a dough hook. But it does take patience and large swaths of time to allow for proper proofing and multiple rises.

But why does bread need to rise? An important note is that only yeasted bread needs to rise. Yeast is a living thing – it needs time to eat up all the delicious sugars in your dough, break up the starches, and fill your dough with the air bubbles that will make for light, fluffy bread. This fermentation also adds flavor to the finished product, which is why the best bakers will use specially sourced yeast (or even collect their own from their environment) to suit their unique tastes.

This particular recipe for brioche buns has three periods of down-time: The first is activation of the yeast in the sponge; then letting the whole batch of dough rise; and last letting the divided balls of dough rise on your baking sheet right before baking. You can help the process along by keeping your dough in a warm place, but there is no substitute for a proper amount of time.

Don’t rush your bread. Give it time. Let it rise.


A Perfectly Toasted Bun

Because of the amount of butter in brioche, there is no need to butter the cut sides of the bun before toasting. In fact, this could just lead to a mushy, not so tasty bookend to your otherwise delicious burger. Instead, just heat a dry non-stick pan over medium low heat and toast the buns, cut side down for about 2 minutes. This will crisp up the soft bread just enough to keep shape to your brioche and protect it from getting too soggy from the condiments, vegetables, and burger juices before you get a chance to dig in. For a little added protection, make sure to put a layer of butter lettuce between your other toppings and the bun. The green makes it healthy, right?

Close-up of fresh baked hot dog buns dotted with poppy seeds.

Hamburger vs. Hotdog

While a hamburger bun might be a little more universally versatile, this recipe for brioche can easily be be made into long buns for hot dogs and sausages! The only difference is how you shape the dough.

Follow the recipe as described, dividing the risen and ready dough into 12 even balls. Roll each of these dough balls into a log shape, 3-4 inches in length. Arrange on your tray, brush with egg wash, and bake as normal.


The Best Burger Recipes

You have the buns – now what? Stay tuned for a full post about creating your own summer burger bar, but until then here are a few of my favorite homemade burger patties from across the web:

Homemade Brioche Buns

Homemade Brioche Buns make every burger taste better. (Adapted from How to Bake Everything)

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, French
Keyword bread, bun, burger, butter, grill, summer, yeast
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Hands-Off Rising Time 10 hours
Servings 12 brioche buns

Ingredients

Sponge

  • 1/3 cup warm milk (110 degrees F)
  • 1 ½ teaspoon 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all purpose flour, divided

Dough

  • ¼ cup turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cubed and kept chilled

Egg Wash

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Optional Toppings

  • Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flakey sea salt

Instructions

Make the sponge:

  1. Using the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, milk, 1 egg, and 1 cup of flour. Sprinkle the second cup of flour over the mixture, covering it (do not incorporate). Let the sponge rest for 30 minutes. At this point, check the sponge – if there are cracks and craters across the top layer of flour, you know your yeast is doing its job!

Mix the dough:

  1. Turn the top layer of flour into the sponge with a spatula, and then add the sugar and salt. Using the dough hook with your mixer on medium-low speed, work in the eggs individually, and then 1 more cup flour. Increase the speed of your mixer to full incorporate, then add the remaining ½ cup flour.
  2. Once all the flour is worked into the dough, increase the speed to medium and allow the dough to mix for 5 minutes undisturbed (no less). The dough should be sticky and very pliable, but if too wet, add another ¼ cup flour.
  3. Once the dough has come together, start adding the cubes of butter a few at a time, adding more as they become incorporated. Mix on medium low for another 5 minutes.

Let the dough rise twice:

  1. Transfer the ball of dough to a large bowl greased with butter and let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature until it doubles in size.
  2. Using a spatula, flip the ball of dough over in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 6-8 hours more (or overnight).

Prepare the brioche buns:

  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees F and grease an oven safe casserole dish with butter (you can also line two baking sheets with parchment paper).
  2. Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in quarters and then each quarter into thirds, so that you have 12 total balls of dough. Arrange the balls of dough in the prepared dish, about 1 inch apart. The buns will expand into eachother as they bake, allowing them to be nice and soft when you pull them apart later. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and let the dough rise one last time for 30 minutes.

Apply egg wash and bake:

  1. Whisk together the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl. Brush the brioche buns with the egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, and/or sea salt, as desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the buns are beautifully golden and round.
  2. Let the brioche buns cool in the pan before taking them apart. Use right away, or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
  3. To freeze, let the brioche buns cool completely, lay the individual buns out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and freeze for at least an hour. Transfer the frozen rolls to a freezer-safe bag and use within 6 months.

Recipe Notes


Make Hot Dog Buns: Follow all the directions as above. After you separate the dough into 12 parts, form the balls into log-like shapes 3 to 4 inches long. Brush with egg wash and bake as normal.

 

Toasting Brioche Buns: Because of all the butter in the dough, you do not need to grease your pan or butter the rolls when toasting, and in fact doing so might make the buns soggy. Just slice the bun in half and toast the top and bottom on a skillet at medium heat for 2-3 minutes.


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