Fluffy Brioche-Style Burger Buns
Brioche traditionally achieves a luxurious texture with a mind blowing amount of egg yokes and butter added into the dough slowly as it mixes. I got tired of not being able to enjoy the huge fluffy brioche bun that so many restaurants are using. So a few years back, I started trying to develop my of recipe for a vegan version. After 10 different evolutions and experimentations, I can now pass along my recipe for a dairy-free and egg-free brioche-style burger bun. These buns are so good, they inspire cravings, but you will have to try the recipe to believe me.
After years of tweaking, these buns are both substantial enough for any sort of burger or sandwich you throw at them, while also being fluffy with a hint of buttery sweetness. I started testing with vegan butter alternatives. One afternoon I started a batch of bun when I realized I was out of Earth Balance Butter, which led me to substitute avocado oil. And you know what? The buns made with oil rather than butter were so much lighter and finer textured. For the eggs, I started with my go to egg substitute of flax seed meal. Though it worked as a binder, it left the visible flecks of flax seed throughout the dough while also not bringing enough fat to resemble the egg yolks. And while Just Egg's store bought egg substitute worked okay, I do not regularly stock Just Egg. I wanted this recipe to be made from things I regularly have on hand, so I could whip up a batch with little notice. So after a few more trials, I settled on aquafaba (chickpea cooking liquid) for moisture and binding with the addition of nut butter (tahini or almond butter) for the richness. And the final optional element was the wash used to give the buns their final color. Additional aquafaba or milk alternative with a pinch of turmeric helps with the final golden brown color.
Fluffy Brioche-Style Burger Buns
Yield: 8-10 buns
150g / 1 1/4c +1tbsp Whole Wheat Flour
360g / 23c Bread Flour*
6g / 2tsp Active Dry Yeast
50g / 1/4c Raw or Granulated Sugar
12g / 1 1/2tbsp Kosher Salt**
150g / 3/4c Aquafaba (chickpea cooking liquid)
50g / 3 tbsp Nut or Seed butter (tahini or almond butter)
100g / 1/2c Avocado or Olive Oil
170g / 3/4c Milk of Choice
50g / 1/4c Aquafaba or Milk of Choice
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
* If you do not have bread flour on hand, you can substitute All Purpose and add 20g of Vital Wheat Gluten.
** If using Mortons Salt then half the amount of salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer combine all the dry ingredients.
Stir together the aquafaba and nut or seed butter. Add that mixture along with the oil and milk to the dry ingredients.
Mixing - With a dough hook, start by turning the mixer to stir for a minute to combine the ingredients.
Kneading - Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl before mixing at medium-low speed. Depending on the flour you used and the humidity, the mixing may take anywhere from 7-15 minutes.
Windowpane test - Test the gluten development by pulling a pingpong ball piece of dough into your hands. Stretch the piece of dough between your thumbs and forefingers. If the dough stretches without tearing you are good to move onto proofing. If it tears rather than stretching, return the piece of dough to the mixer for another two minutes and test again.
Bulk Proof - Rather than dirty up another bowl, scrap down the sides of the bowl with a bowl scraper or rubber spatula. Cover and allow to bulk proof for an hour and a half until almost but not quite doubled (if mid-summer and hot you may cut it down to an hour).
Dividing the Dough - Ever so lightly flour one small section of your work surface and scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the flour. Divide the dough in half. If you slightly roll half the dough into a cylinder, you will have an easier time dividing it evenly without the need to weigh it. Then depending on if you want the large oversized restaurant sized buns or more standard home bun size, you will divide each half the dough into 4 or 5 piece.
Forming the buns - Take one piece of the dough at a time and pinch the sides down towards the bottom. Then place that pinched side down on your work surface away from the floured area (too much flour will make rolling hard because you need the friction of the surface). With your hand cup over the top of the ball, drag the ball around the surface in a circular motion. This will pull the surface tight and smooth. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Second Proof - Once the balls are all on the sheet pan, lightly press down on each ball until it is about 1" tall. Then cover and proof for 1.5-2 hours until nearly doubled. Watch the buns and once they are nearly doubled but not there yet, start preheating your oven to 425F for at least 20 minutes.
Wash - When ready to bake, combine the wash ingredients and very gently brush a light coat over each bun being careful to not drip it all over the pan.
Bake - Slide the pan into the oven and drop the temperature down to 375F. Depending on your oven and the size of bun you went with, they may take anywhere from 14-18 minutes to bake. If you want to be sure they are baked, the interior temperature should read 190F when a instant read thermometer is inserted into the interior. If your buns are done but missing that golden brown color, you can turn on the broiler for 30 seconds to give them that last chance to gain a bit of color.
Cool - Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack.
Once fully cooled, they will keep in a tupperware at room temperature for three days or in the freezer for up to a month.