A Perfect Burger Bun?

I’ve always found a brioche bun to be a perfect compliment to pulled pork. Getting good brioche buns has always been a problem though. An excellent recipe may well have solved that.

We came across a YouTube post mentioned by Bunch of Swines on their Facebook page. It’s a bit different than most brioche recipes. Much less butter and the addition of Tangzhong.

Tangzhong is a Japanese technique where you cook a small portion of the flour and liquid (water or milk) briefly before combining the resulting thick paste with the remaining bread ingredients.

This technique breaks down the starches in the flour allowing them to absorb more water. It can allow the flour to absorb twice as much hot water or milk as yeast dough normally does. And it is able to hold on to the extra liquid throughout the kneading and baking processes. This means:

  • The dough is less sticky and easier to knead;
  • The dough is likely to rise higher, due to more water creating more internal steam;
  • And since it retains more moisture during baking, the bread is moister and stays soft and fresh for longer.

The YouTube post is well done and very informative, but doesn’t give you an actual recipe to follow — you’ve just got to watch the post. I’ve put together this recipe from the post by Joshua Weissman :

https://youtu.be/gTGSUYMu6Ns

Best Burger Buns Ever

These light, buttery buns are a perfect match for burgers, pulled pork or for the best ever bacon roll.

Course Bread
Prep Time 4 hours
Cook Time 14 minutes
Servings 6 rolls
Author Bruce Heck

Ingredients

Tangzhong

  • 2 tbsp bread flour
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 4 tbsp whole milk

Brioche dough

  • 1/2 cup whole milk at 95° F
  • 1 tbsp instant yeast 9 gm
  • 2 ½ cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 ½ tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 whole egg at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened

Egg wash

  • 1 egg
  • splash whole milk
  • 1 tbsp water

Instructions

Tangzhong

  1. Put the ingredients into a sauce pan and whisk together.  Put on a medium heat and whisk constantly until it reaches a thick paste. Only takes a few seconds to reach a choux pastry-like consistency. Put into a bowl for use later.

Brioche dough

  1. Heat the milk to 95° F and stir in your yeast. Let stand for about 8 minutes.

  2. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the mixer bowl and give a good mix.  Put on your dough hook and put the bowl on the mixer.  Put the mixer on a low speed and add the yeast mixture letting it mix for a few seconds.

  3. Now add the tangzhong paste followed by the egg and egg yolk (best if at room temperature, not chilled).  Increase the mixer speed slightly (remain below medium) and mix until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the sides as required.

  4. Add the softened butter one tablespoon at a time allowing it to incorporate before adding the next tablespoon.  Continue to let the mixer knead the dough until all of the butter is incorporated and the dough is nicely smooth. Expect this to take about 10 minutes.

  5. Take the dough from the mixer bowl put it on a lightly floured board. Gently stretch and fold it in from each edge to make a nice ball.  Pull from one edge and then rotate 90 degrees and continue for two rotations. Turn the dough over and gently pull the dough toward you keeping it in constant contact with the board to fold it into itself. Rotate 90 degrees and keep doing this until you have worked it into a nice ball shape.

  6. Put into a bowl lined with lightly greased baking parchment and cover with a damp towel. Place in a warm area for 1 to 1½ hours to rise, until doubled in size.

  7. Punch the dough down and put in on a lightly floured board.  Divide the dough into six even pieces using a scraper.  Each piece should weight about 105gm.

  8. As before, gently pull and fold each piece of dough into the center creating a ball.  Put onto the board and pull the dough across the board (keeping the dough in contact with the board always), turn 90 degrees and repeating.  Do this four times until you have a nice tight ball of dough.

  9. Place the dough on a lightly greased baking parchment in a baking tray giving plenty of distance between each ball (at least 2 – 2½ inches).

  10. Place a lightly greased piece of baking parchment over the top and cover with a damp, warm towel. Allow the dough to rise in a warm location for 1-2 hours until doubled in size again. 

  11. Brush the dough lightly with the egg wash. Bake at 350° F for 16-18 minutes until a deep golden brown. If the tops start to become too brown, then covert with foil.

  12. Place on a wire rack to until completely cool and then wrap in cling film or foil to keep fresh. Use within two days or freeze immediately.

Recipe Notes

In my first effort with this recipe I found the buns browned too quickly.  I’ve watered down the egg wash slightly and reduced the oven temperature by 25 degrees.  I covered them with foil at 11 minutes to stop them browning further.

Potatas Bravas

A native dish to Spain, potatas bravas are one of the most common tapas dishes. This dish dates back to the mid-16th century but no one knows the exact date. They were popularised in Madrid but are found in virtually every bar in every corner of Spain.

They are simply potatoes cut into irregular pieces about 2 cm across and deep fried with spicy tomato sauce called ‘bravas’ sauce poured over them as they are served. The sauce is made from tomatoes, vinegar and chilli and from there every recipe is different.

The key to this dish is the sauce, so we are going to start with that so the sauce has time to develop its full flavour.

Potatas Bravas

The quintessential tapas dish.  Easy to make and equally tasty. For best results, use a fluffy potato — same as you would use for chips (fries) like maris piper, king edwards and russet.

Course Side Dish, Tapas
Servings 4 people
Author Bruce Heck

Ingredients

Bravas Sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 sm onion finely grated
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika (more for sprinkling when serving)
  • 2 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 500 ml passata
  • 125 ml chicken stock double concentrated (1 cube in 250ml water)
  • 1 tsp potato starch (or other thickener)

Potatoes

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 1500 ml sunflower oil (or any frying oil, not olive oil)

Instructions

Bravas sauce

  1. Pour half of the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat.  Once the oil has heated, add the garlic and grated onion.  Saute for about five minutes.

  2. Add the remaining ingredients except for the passata and chicken stock.  Bring together and simmer for a couple of minutes.

  3. Whisk in the passata.  Once fully incorporated, whisk in the chicken stock.

  4. Simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir the potato starch into 1 tbsp of cold water. Slowly add the starch to the sauce while whisking constantly.  Simmer for a few minutes until the desired thickness is reach. 

  5. Pour the sauce through a fine sieve over a heat-proof bowl.  You’ll need to do this a bit at a time, stirring the sauce in the sieve to push it through.  Empty the sieve of any bits with each filling.

  6. Set the sauce aside — on to the potatoes!

Potatoes

  1. Cut your potatoes into large chunks — it's easier to cook them this way and cut them smaller after the pre-cook.

  2. Put the potatoes in a pan with cold water and a few pinches of salt.  Bring to a boil and cook until a fork goes into the potato with a bit of resistence – usually around 10 minutes.  You don't want to over cook them as you will be frying them later and they will fall apart if overcooked.

  3. Drain the potatoes in a colander and run them under cold water to stop them cooking.  Set aside to cool.

  4. Once cooled (and just before you’re ready to fry them, chop into 2 cm pieces.  (cut small ones into four pieces — larger once chop up more)

  5. Put your oil into a deep pan or wok (mine was 28cm across) and bring up to temperature – that's 325° F or 160° C.  Add your potatoes in small batches and fry until golden brown and crispy.

  6. Drain on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet lined with kitchen roll (paper towels).

  7. When ready to serve, put into a tapas bowl and drizzle with warm bravas sauce.  Sprinkle with a bit of smoked paprika and serve.

Recipe Notes

This recipe makes more sauce than you will need for the potatoes.  How much extra will depend upon how much sauce you like!  But this sauce keeps well and is great on smoked sausage, pork chops and more.

¡Arriba, Arriba! Tacos Tonight!

It seems that tacos have become the new burgers in London. From a growing number Mexican restaurants to street food pop-up sites, tacos are more popular than ever. And have they changed!

Gone are the Tex-Mex favourites of old. Now it’s all about gourmet tacos that meet the definition of taco only by being wrapped in a tortilla! Smoked bavette with chimichurri, beer-battered sea bream with salsa veracruz, pig’s head cochinita pibil (what is that?) and even buttermilk fried chicken are the toppings at the best rated taco joints in London.

And that is all good. I love the new flavours, but I still enjoy the old Tex-Mex version too. Crispy shells, spicy mince, cheese, lettuce, salsa and sour cream — Yum!

Continue reading “¡Arriba, Arriba! Tacos Tonight!”

Warning! Never take this dish to a party!

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.  Take this to a party and it may be the only dish you ever get asked for. This dish is a fiesta of fresh flavours — it’s like a taco in a bowl.

I can’t have a party (or go to one) without this dish now.  It is absolutely everyone’s favourite.  The good news it is it may be one of the easiest dishes you ever make.  And if you do take it to a party you can count on more party invites.

Continue reading “Warning! Never take this dish to a party!”

Breakfast on the Go

jalapeno cheddar muffin image

A full English breakfast is nice, but sometimes you just don’t have the time.  You need something you can grab and eat on the go.  These savoury muffins are not your average muffin.

A bit of spice, crunchy crust and soft centre — these deliver flavour in a small package.

Delicious straight out of the oven, but you can also freeze them and reheat in the microwave for a quick, but surprisingly filling breakfast at any time.

Even better with a bit of chipotle ketchup for dipping.

Continue reading “Breakfast on the Go”

Best bread in the world?

cornbread image

Mark Twain famously said, “Perhaps no bread in the world is quite as good as Southern corn bread.” That might be a bit of a stretch, but this versatile bread certainly has a following. There are even annual competitions and national festivals for this simple bread. There are lots of recipes but if you’re after proper Southern-style cornbread, it has to include coarse ground cornmeal and buttermilk.

This recipe is one of the easiest and comes from Quaker Oats (one the larger cornmeal producers in the USA). It uses a mix of cornmeal and flour so purists will argue this isn’t a proper Southern recipe, but it’s what I grew up with and I still love it.

Continue reading “Best bread in the world?”

Biscuit anyone?

buttermilk biscuits image

Biscuits are a staple of Southern cooking in America. Definitely not a British biscuit, these are a kind of bread that’s similar to a scone but softer and lighter. The southern biscuit is most often seen at the breakfast table, but may appear with any meal–they are particularly good served with fried chicken.

Continue reading “Biscuit anyone?”