Fluffy Brioche Buns

November 18, 2014
5 Ratings
  • Prep time 3 hours
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Makes 6 buns
Author Notes

These brioche buns not only make great burger buns but are also one of the most delicious things I’ve ever had for breakfast. When making burger buns, I always double the recipe to have enough buns left for breakfast next morning. They taste best when lightly toasted. If they are too thick to fit into your toaster, just cut them twice or use the oven broiler. Spread with unsalted butter and orange marmalade or apricot jam and enjoy! —Ursula | Lil Vienna

What You'll Need
  • 1/3 cup plus 1.5 tablespoons (100 ml) lightly warmed milk
  • 1 teaspoon (3.5 g) active dry yeast
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (80 g) unsalted butter in pieces, softened
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly whisked (keep 1 tablespoon for the egg wash)
  • 1/3 teaspoon fine salt
  • 300 grams (about 2 1/3 cups) white bread flour (also works with all purpose)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon milk for the egg wash
  • All ingredients at room temperature. For the dough, I recommend measuring the flour by weight in grams since it is more accurate than measuring by volume.
  1. Put active dry yeast in a bowl with the lightly warmed milk to activate (about 10 minutes).
  2. With a hand mixer, beat together softened (not melted) butter and sugar for 5 minutes in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Gradually add the whisked eggs – set about 1 tablespoon of whisked eggs aside for the egg-wash you will need later. If the eggs are not at room temperature, they will separate from the butter – but don’t worry, as soon as the flour goes in, everything will come together again.
  4. Gradually add the flour and salt and mix with your mixer on low speed until you get a crumbly mixture.
  5. Add the yeast-milk-mixture and stir with a spoon until the ingredients come together. [OR: Instead of the milk, you can make a tangzhong, which you add now together with 1 tablespoon warm milk including dissolved yeast, see note.]
  6. Knead the dough with your hands either directly in the mixing bowl (less messy) or on a lightly floured surface for 5 minutes until smooth. For the first minutes, the dough will be very sticky, but it gets better after a while. Please don’t add any additional flour as the buns will get tougher (also see note for tangzhong). After the first rise, the dough is a lot easier to handle.
  7. Put the dough in a big clean bowl, and let it rise covered with a lid or cling wrap at room temperature until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Do not let the dough rise at a too warm temperature as it will be a lot tackier when the butter melts.
  8. Gently deflate the dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it softly for a few seconds. Divide it into 6 equal pieces.
  9. Shape each piece of dough into a smooth, tight round ball and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, 2 inch apart. Let the buns rise uncovered for 1 hour until puffy.
  10. Make an egg wash, mixing 1 tablespoon whisked egg you’ve set aside earlier and 1 teaspoon milk. Brush the buns carefully with egg wash (don’t poke them) and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  11. Put them in the center rack of the preheated oven (I use rack 2 from 4 from top) and bake them for 20-25 minutes at 375 °F or until golden brown. Transfer the buns immediately to a cooling rack.
  12. NOTE: For an even easier to handle dough you can make tangzhong which you would add instead of the milk. This is a type of roux-like paste where the flour and the milk are heated together to bind the liquid in a better way, resulting in a softer, moister and fluffier bun. ---> For making a tangzhong: Whisk together the milk (set 1 tablespoon of warm milk aside for dissolving the yeast) and 2 tablespoons (16 g) of the 300 g flour until lump-free. Heat the mixture in a saucepan over low heat, whisking constantly. The milk should be hot (about 150 °F), but not simmer. After a few minutes, the milk should thicken to a gel-like consistency. Transfer it to a small bowl and let it cool covered to room temperature.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Steve
  • Denise Yuan
    Denise Yuan
  • Kristy Robledo
    Kristy Robledo
  • PeisaManz
  • Ursula | Lil Vienna
    Ursula | Lil Vienna
Austrian, Cookbook author, Journalist, Food blogger, Globetrotter, (Bread)Baking enthusiast, Recipe-tweaker, Chocolate-lover.

11 Reviews

tm November 6, 2022
We have been on the hunt for the perfect hamburger buns for almost a decade now. I cannot TELL you how many recipes I've tried. Well, I no longer have to look - these are 100% the best hamburger buns we've ever had. I don't have one thing negative to say about them. TRY THEM!
Ursula |. November 18, 2022
Hi tm,
You made my day :) So happy that you like them. They are still my favorite buns if I want to bake brioche buns (eg. for pulled pork burgers). Thanks so much for your comment, Ursula
Steve September 22, 2020
1 tbsp of liquid is 15ml, 1 1/2 would be 22.5 ml, not 100. So what is the correct amount?
Steve September 22, 2020
Oops... can't delete it... I missed the 1/3 of a cup before it... feel free do delete my comment!
Ursula |. September 22, 2020
Hi Steve,
Yes, it is 1/3 cup + 1.5 tablespoons, which equals 100ml. For some reason the + disappeared. New design? . I'll try to fix it. Thanks for letting me know, Ursula
Denise Y. November 5, 2018
I made it for the first time this past weekend and althouth the flavor was decent, they were definitely NOT fluffy! I’m not sure if it’s because I tried to make it with the tangzhong but when I was kneading the dough, it was incredibly tough and the dough did not double in size when it was resting even though I let it sit for over 3 hours. Can someone help me diagnose?
Ursula |. November 5, 2018
Hi Denise,
I'm so sorry. So far, all the feedback has been great. It seems that your dough was kind of dry since it shouldn't be tough to knead at all. Usually, it's rather sticky. The high amount of butter interferes with the yeast, but usually it rises very well with the amount given (1 teaspoon).

If you are willing to give it another try (I really hope you do), I'd suggest to add a little more extra liquid. For instance: When making the recipe with tangzhong, add an extra 2-3 tablespoons of milk (or water). If you are making it the regular way, 1/2 cup of milk (instead of 1/3 cup plus 1.5 Tbsp) should work fine. And if the dough is too wet when forming buns, you can always generously flour your working surface.
Also: You can try to increase the amount of yeast. Use 1.5 teaspoons (or even 2). I usually use active dry or instant yeast.

Again, I really can't quite figure out why they didn't turn out well, and I hope you'll try this recipe again. It is my go-to recipe for brioche burger buns (for pulled pork) and one of my personal favorites.
Kristy R. May 6, 2016
Do you think you can do the first rise the night before, refrigerate, and do the second rise the next morning??
Ursula |. November 12, 2017
OMG, so sorry for not replying earlier. I didn't notice your comment.... Sure, I often do the first rise in the fridge overnight. I am a huge fan of splitting work ;-)
PeisaManz January 17, 2015
Fantastic recipe, thank you!
Ursula |. January 19, 2015
Glad you like it! I do too ;-)