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My guide to mini brioche buns will keep you in a good supply of these delicious little buttery breads. They're perfect for snacks on their own or to make tea time finger sandwiches.
What Makes Brioche Different From Other Breads
Brioche is a rich bread, made with a eggs, milk and a significant supply of butter. Made correctly, it has a light texture and will raise a lot when baking. Brioche is mainly characterised for its soft and fluffy texture combined with buttery flavour.
Ingredients for Mini Brioche Buns
To make my mini brioche buns, you will need:
- Flour - a mix of all purpose flour or plain flour and strong white flour. For bread making, it is important to measure these as level cups and take care that they are not over- or under-filled.
- Dry active yeast.
- Warm milk - use whole milk or full fat. This should be heated to simmering and then allowed to cool a little. The ideal temperature is about 104°F or 40C.
- Sugar - caster sugar or superfine granulated.
- Eggs - you'll need five eggs for the bread and an extra egg for the egg wash.
- Butter - a cup (16 tablespoons or 220g) of softened butter.
Making Mini Brioche Dough
The key to any bread dough is patience! And activating your yeast.
Step 1 - Preparing the Yeast
In order to make brioche, you'll want to use dry active yeast. Be sure the yeast is in date. If the yeast is expired, it may not be lively enough to help the dough rise properly into the fluffy bread buns you are looking for.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan until it is simmering. Then, remove from the stovetop and pour into a small bowl or jug. Allow it to cool slightly - the ideal temperature for yeast is about 104°F/40C. If you have an instant read thermometer, you can use this to help measure the temperature to be on the safe side.
Once cooled to the approximate temperature, sprinkle the yeast over the top along with a teaspoon of your sugar. Give the mixture a light stir and set aside for 10 minutes. The yeast should become frothy and effectively dissolve.
Step 2 - Mixing the Dough
While you're activating the yeast, add your flours, salt and the remaining sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and give a light stir.
After 10 minutes, when your yeast is foamy, add this to the flour mixture, immediately followed by five eggs. Turn the mixer to a medium low setting and knead until it has come together into a sticky dough. Then continue kneading for about 15 minutes, until the dough is pulling itself away from the bowl.
Step 3 - Adding the Butter
The butter is incorporated at the end, once a dough has already been formed as a method of enriching this.
Continuing to knead the dough with the mixer on, slowly adding pieces of softened butter a bit at a time until you've added in the whole 16 tablespoons.
Once the butter is added, continue kneading for a further 10 minutes until your dough is again pulling itself from the sides of the bowl. It will be a soft dough and very buttery!
Proofing Brioche Dough
While the dough is kneading in the mixer, take a little extra softened butter and grease a large mixing bowl. You can oil this if preferred, but I find that using the butter works best with brioche. Oil can lead to too much grease residue on your dough, making this less likely to rise well.
When the brioche dough is done kneading, scrape this into the prepared bowl and cover with cling film. Place in the refrigerator and proof overnight (or for about 8 hours).
After 8 hours, the dough should be doubled in size.
Towards the end of the first proof, prepare your baking tins or sheets. These buns can be made in muffin pans, mini loaf moulds or even just on a baking sheet. Some quick tips:
- If using a muffin tin, butter this well to grease.
- If using silicone, these do not need greased.
- To make without moulds, prepare baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
Shaping Mini Brioche Dough and Second Proof
After 8 hours, remove from the refrigerator and turn out onto a clean work surface. Adding flour will make the dough more sticky.
Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, cut in half and then each half into 12 roughly equal pieces. Roll each into a ball and place in your prepared muffin tin or well spaced on your baking sheets.
Cover with a clean tea towel and proof again for two hours at room temperature.
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan).
After the second proof, whisk together a quick egg wash with an egg and a teaspoon of water. Brush this on each bun and sprinkle over your choice of topping.
Brioche is incredibly versatile and you can top these with a variety of herbs, spices or sugars to give an added flavour to the bake. Some suggestions for these buns include:
- Old Bay seasoning - to make Old Bay brioche buns, sprinkle a generous amount of Old Bay onto the top of the bun following the egg wash.
- Italian Herbs - dried Italian seasoning is a great topping for a savoury brioche. This works well for mini sandwich rolls.
- Flaked sea salt - another great option for a savoury mini sandwich bun.
- Pearl sugar - this is the classic sweet brioche topping. Chunky bits of sugar give a nice added texture and sweetness to the bake.
Whatever the topping, bake the buns in a preheated oven for about 20 minutes until golden brown. Once baked, allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the tin before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.
FAQs for Mini Brioche Buns
Yes, definitely! These mini brioche are easily frozen. Allow to first cool at room temperature before placing in freezer safe ziploc bags. These can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost at room temperature before consuming.
These mini brioche buns are best on the day they are baked. They will start to stale after a day or two. They can be used for other bakes, such as bread pudding if they are not at their freshest.
Your brioche dough should double in size during the slow proof in the refrigerator. Sometimes this doesn't happen. This is almost certainly due to the yeast and may have resulted due to the yeast being under-active. This can happen when the yeast has expired, if the milk was too warm/cold or the dough not kneaded long enough.
If your dough hasn't doubled at this stage, continue with the recipe and don't abandon hope. These may still result in risen buttery brioche.
If your brioche has stuck to your muffin pan, this is most likely because the pan wasn't buttered/greased enough. Fear not, you can still save the buns! Using a toothpick to loosen around the sides of the brioche buns. You can also use a small rubber spatula to try to get further under the bun and gently twist out.
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Mini Brioche Buns
- Standing mixer fitted with dough hook
- 2 x 12 whole muffin tins or other baking tins, such as silicone mini loaf moulds
- ½ cup warmed whole milk approximately 104°F/40C
- 5 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cup plain flour or all purpose flour levelled
- 1¾ cup strong white bread flour levelled
- 2 tablespoon caster sugar or superfine granulated
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened at room temperature + extra for greasing
- Begin by heating the milk to about 104°F/40C. I do this by heating to simmering and then allowing to cool for about 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle the yeast over this and add 1 teaspoon of sugar. Stir lightly and sit aside for 10 minutes until the yeast is frothy.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the flours, salt and remaining sugar. Give a stir.
- Once the yeast is ready, add this to the mixing bowl, followed immediately by 5 eggs. Turn the mixer on to medium low and mix until a dough forms.
- Continue kneading on medium low for about 15 minutes until the dough is pulling itself off of the walls of the bowl.
- At this stage, begin adding slices of the butter, bit by bit, continuing to knead.
- Once all the butter has been added, continue kneading for a further 10 minutes until the dough is again pulling itself from the sides of the bowl.
- While the dough kneads, use a little extra softened butter to grease a separate large mixing bowl and set aside.
- When the dough is finished kneading, it will be a soft and buttery dough. Scrape this into the greased bowl and cover with cling film. Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours (or overnight) for a slow proof.
- After 8 hours, the dough should have doubled in size. Remove this from the refrigerator and turn out onto a clean work surface.
- Use a dough scraper to cut the dough into two halves. Then slice each half into twelve roughly equal pieces. Shape into rounds and place in a greased muffin tin, mini loaf moulds or well spaced on baking sheets. Cover with a clean tea towel and proof for a second time for two hours at room temperature until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F(175C/155C Fan) and make an egg wash using the remaining egg and a teaspoon of water, whisked together.
- After two hours, brush each bun with the egg wash and top with your choice of optional toppings (see note). Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes until golden on top.
- Allow to cool for about 10 minutes in the tins and then remove to cool on a wire rack.