Adapted from Erin Clarkson of Cloudy Kitchen
Makes 16 Small Buns or 8 Large Buns
1 cup milk (warmed to 85-105F)
2 ¼ tsp dry yeast, instant or active works well here
2 tbsp sugar
3 ¾ cup flour (500g)
½ tsp salt
6 tbsp butter, softened
Egg Wash: 1 large egg + 1 tbsp of water
This recipe can be made in a kitchen aid mixer, but might require an additional ¼ cup of flour.
Combine yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar in the warm milk. Set aside and let sit until foamy, 5-10 minutes. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, and the additional tbsp of sugar. Once the yeast is active and foamy it is ready to use.
Make a well in the dry goods mixture and add eggs and the milk and yeast mixture. Beat with a fork to combine, then begin incorporating the flour. Mix dough until it becomes too stiff to stir, then dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface to knead. Dough might be tacky at this point, but try to resist adding more flour, as kneading and adding the butter in will help it come together.
Knead the butter into the dough one tablespoon at a time, waiting until the butter is fully incorporated before each new addition. The dough will initially resist the addition of the butter, but with a little patience and elbow grease will eventually form one cohesive dough. If using a stand mixer add the butter one tablespoon at a time, waiting for it to fully incorporate before adding the next piece. After about 10 minutes of kneading, the resulting dough should be soft and smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it and let it rise for 1-2 hours. Dough should be puffy, but it might not double in size.
After your dough has risen, dump dough from the bowl onto the table. Use your fingers to dimple the dough, pressing some of the air out of it. Using a knife or bench scraper divide dough into 8 sections if making large buns (about 120g-125g pieces) or 16 sections (about 60g) for making smaller slider sized buns.
Shape each bun. Pull the edges of the dough piece in towards the center, taking care not to create air bubbles, rotating the ball as you go, creating a tight circle. Place the ball seam side down and repeat with remaining pieces.
Place the shaped buns on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, foil or a silicon baking mat. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow them to rise for another 20-30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F. Make egg wash, beat together one large egg and about 1 tbsp of water. Use a pastry brush to apply egg wash to the top of each bun. Top buns with your topping of choice if desired, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, everything bagel seasoning.
Bake buns for 10-12 minutes for the smaller buns, or 14-16 minutes for the larger, flipping the tray halfway through baking so buns brown evenly. If buns begin to brown to rapidly tent with foil, or drop the baking temperature down to 375F. Buns are done when they’re light in weight and well browned in color. If you have an instant read thermometer you can check the inside temperature as well, buns are done if they’re 195F or higher inside.
Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting. We served our mini buns with pulled pork, and toasted them with butter on a griddle before serving. Buns are best served the day they're baked, but can be reheated in the oven, toaster or microwave for a few days after.
Fun Fact: This brioche dough is super versatile! It is essentially the same dough we used to make Cinnamon Buns during Week 3 of my Bake-a-Long series AND its the same dough I use when I make donuts! This was tweaked to have a little more flour and a little less sugar.