In a previous video, I demonstrated how to make the ultimate hamburger brioche bun. Since I used a KitchenAid mixer for the kneading process, I received a lot of questions on how this dough can be mixed by hand.
When this recipe was originally formulated, I wanted to make it as approachable as possible. Lots of people are scared of baking bread from scratch, but even seasoned baker's still fear brioche.
These hamburger buns were so amazing, I wanted to share them with the world without incorporating a lot of extra steps or hand kneading, which is why I opted to demonstrate this recipe using a KitchenAid mixer.
But mixing this brioche by hand is not only possible, it's also just as fast and I dare say comes out even better!
To make this dough mixable by hand, there are four technical changes:
Change One - Scalding The Milk
In the original recipe, the milk was never heated. This is because plenty of gluten is developed during the extended kneading step with the dough hook attachment (15 minutes).
However, the whey proteins contained in milk will hinder gluten development. We deactivate the whey protein by first heating the milk above 180°F/82.2°C. The milk is then cooled to 110°F/43.3°C before moving on to the next step.
Change Two - Dissolving Yeast Directly In Milk
In the original video, we do a true autolyse, meaning the milk and flour is allowed to hydrate before the yeast, salt, sugar, and butter are added.
In the hand mixing version, I opt to whisk the yeast directly into the warm milk after it cools to 110°F/43.3°C. This ensures the yeast is thoroughly dissolved throughout, which will allow it to be fully incorporated into the brioche dough.
We still don't mix the salt, sugar, or butter at this time. Instead, we allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This step allows the gluten structure to fully hydrate before we add the other ingredients and start kneading by hand. Salt, sugar, and butter will all hinder gluten development, so it's important to add these ingredients after the autolyse step.
Change Three - Blending The Dough Using Fraisage
Now we blend in the rest of the ingredients using a technique called "fraisage." In this approach, the dough is smeared outward on the table using the heal of your hand, and then scraped back into the center. This smearing and scraping process is continued for about 1-2 minutes, or until the ingredients are evenly blended.
This is an all purpose technique used to hand blend rich doughs, not just brioche.
Change Four - Kneading Via Slap And Fold
Finally, instead of kneading with the dough hook attachment of a mechanical mixer, we knead using the slap and fold technique.
To knead via slap and fold, pick the dough up by the side, slap the front of it back down onto your work surface, fold the back half of the dough over the top, give the dough a quarter turn, and repeat.
Once you build up a good rhythm, it should only take 7 to 10 minutes at the most to knead this dough until it passes the windowpane test.
At this point, let the dough rest at room temperature for one hour and then place in your fridge overnight to rise.
From here on out, the instructions are exactly the same as laid out in our original hamburger brioche bun recipe.