Daily Archives: April 27, 2011

This Bun Was Just Right…

This is a review of a recipe from the Smitten Kitchen and an update for which burger bun we are going to use for our food venturing.

The recipe we used was the Light Brioche Burger Bun from the Smitten Kitchen which everyone on the interwebs has been raving about for months. These turned out delicious. Maddy had to tweak the recipe a bit. The first time Maddy made it we both failed to see that a cup of water was required in the first set of directions, which was not in the ingredient list. We ended up with a ball of dough that could be used as a WMD. The second time through we had to another cup of flour because it was too wet of a dough, more like a batter. Making this brioche was sort of like Goldilocks and her porridge: we had it to make it just right.

They came out soft with a crisp golden crust. They were slightly sweet and buttery. They were not as eggy or rich as brioche usually is. I think they will be an excellent vessel for our burgers.

I brought the leftovers to my 7 pm class. Two of my classmates tried one out and both agreed that was very good bread.

Light Brioche Burger Buns 

from the Smitten Kitchen

Makes 8 4 to 5-inch burger buns

3 tablespoons warm milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
3 cups bread flour
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Sesame seeds (optional)

*note the water is not listed in the ingredients*

1. In a glass measuring cup, combine one cup warm water, the milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand until foamy, about five minutes. Meanwhile, beat one egg.

2. In a large bowl, whisk flours with salt. Add butter and rub into flour between your fingers, making crumbs. Using a dough scraper, stir in yeast mixture and beaten egg until a dough forms. Scrape dough onto clean, well-floured counter and knead, scooping dough up, slapping it on counter and turning it, until smooth and elastic, 8 to 10 minutes. The dough will be on the sticky side so it can be a bit messy, but keep in mind that the more flour you knead in, the tougher the buns will get. Try to leave them tackier than you would a round loaf. *Saying this dough was sticky is a complete  understatement. It was the consistency of cake batter. We had to add an extra cup of flour. Our buns were still very tender.*

3. Shape dough into a ball and return it to bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, one to two hours. (In my freaky, warm apartment this only took an hour.)

4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using dough scraper, divide dough into 8 equal parts. Gently roll each into a ball and arrange two to three inches apart on baking sheet. Cover loosely with a piece of plastic wrap lightly coated in nonstick spray and let buns rise in a warm place for one to two hours. (Again, this only took one hour in my apartment and I suspect, you’ll also only need an hour for a second rise.)

5. Set a large shallow pan of water on oven floor.*We did not do this and we still had a nice crust* Preheat oven to 400 degrees with rack in center. Beat remaining egg with one tablespoon water and brush some on top of buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using. Bake, turning sheet halfway through baking, until tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.


Rigate with Black Pepper Meat Sauce

After making hamburgers for a number of days in a row you are bound to get tired of them. However, I did not run out of ground beef before I ran out of desire for hamburgers so I was left with a considerable amount of ground chuck in my fridge. What do with it? Meat sauce with pasta was the first thing that came to mind.

Unlike most of the world, I do not like tomatoes. I find their taste to be off-putting, I abhor the squishy texture that squirts out seeds, and to top it all off they hurt my stomach. It took me a long time to get used to eating ground beef, never enjoying the texture until the last couple of years. I never get near a bolognese sauce, a meat lasagna, or spaghetti with meat balls. I didn’t just want to cook ground beef and eat it with pasta. That would be boring, bland, uninspiring.

What I did decide to do was a non-tomato based meat sauce with asparagus and penne rigate. I cooked the meat in some olive oil, though I realized later that was unnecessary since the meat had plenty of fat to keep it from sticking too much to the pan and the sauce turned out a little greasy, added salt, worcestshire sauce, chili powder, and a ton of black pepper. Once the meat was browned, I added cut up of asparagus, about four or five fat stalks and cooked until the asparagus was tender.

I added this to the top of the penne rigate which was an excellent conduit for the sauce. The sauce was a full-flavored punch of peppery, salty, meaty goodness and the asparagus was a crisp, tender addition. I would add more asparagus next time and maybe spinach, and remove the olive oil.