The Best, Easiest No-Knead Brioche Buns
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The dough for these no-knead brioche buns comes together in no time, and the buns are so light and airy. These buns are perfect for burgers, but they’re great for sandwiches of all kind! Video guidance below 🍞🍞
Today, I offer my sincerest apologies. On May 22, 2012, I posted a recipe for light brioche buns, promising you the brioche bun to end all brioche buns. Look no further, I said.
And then, in the recipe, I asked you to use not only bread flour but also a third cup of all-purpose flour. And I didn’t offer you any measurements in weights; I gave you cups only.
And I asked you to bloom your yeast in warm milk and warm water, but I didn’t tell you how warm the milk and water should be.
And I had you soften butter and massage it into the flour. I even asked you to scoop up the mixed dough and slap it down on the counter. And I asked you to knead your dough for 8 to 10 minutes until it was smooth and elastic.
Friends, I am sorry. I promise never to do this again. I promise never to ask you to use two types of flour unless it’s completely necessary. I promise never to ask you to bloom yeast. I promise to always give you weights of flour. I promise never to ask you to knead dough unless it serves some purpose.
I promise. I promise. I promise.
How to Make Brioche Buns, Step by Step
The recipe included below is similar in makeup to the light brioche bun I once loved — there’s a little milk, a little butter, a little egg — but the method is simpler: in sum, it follows the Bread Toast Crumbs no-knead method.
Instant Yeast vs. Active Dry Yeast
In nearly every bread recipe on this site, I call for using instant yeast, SAF being my preference. The reason for this is because with instant yeast, you do not need to proof it — you simply stir it into the flour and salt or other dry ingredients just as you would baking soda or baking powder. Instant yeast makes bread baking so much easier and faster. If you can only find active-dry yeast, however, here’s what you do:
How to Proof Yeast
In general, proofing yeast simply requires sprinkling the active-dry yeast over the lukewarm water with a little bit of the sugar, letting it rest for 10-15 minutes or until the yeast gets foamy; then proceeding with the recipe. In this recipe, this is what you’ll do:
Whisk the egg with the water. Add the heated milk-butter mixture. Stir to combine. The mixture should be lukewarm to the touch. Sprinkle the yeast over top and let stand for 15 minutes or until it gets foamy; then proceed with the recipe.
Mix the Brioche Dough
Whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar, and instant yeast). I cannot recommend enough using a digital scale to measure the flour. Volume measurements simply are not accurate.
Create a lukewarm liquid by whisking together a hot milk-butter mixture into a cold water-egg mixture. The combined liquids will be perfectly lukewarm — no need to take its temperature.
Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
No Knead to Knead
Mix with a spatula, stirring just until a sticky dough ball forms — no kneading necessary… save yourself the trouble! This is a high-hydration, wet dough. There is no need to knead it, which would require adding a lot more flour to the dough to make it manageable, which is what we don’t want. The high hydration dough makes for a light, airy crumb.
Place in a warm spot to rise (see the tip in the recipe box below for creating a warm spot to rise), and let rise till doubled.
Punch the dough down using two forks.
Portion the dough into 8 to 10 pieces.
Shape the Brioche Buns
Using flour as needed, shape each portion into a ball, using the pinky edges of your fingers to tuck the dough under and create tension. See video for guidance.
Let the Buns Rise
Depending on the time of year and the temperature of your kitchen, the second rise here will take more or less time. The buns likely won’t double in volume, but they’ll look considerably puffed and they’ll feel light to the touch.
Brush each bun with an egg wash.
Bake the Brioche Buns
Transfer the pan to the oven, and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until the buns are evely golden.
You can make these rolls two ways:
- Mix the dough, let it rise for 2 to 3 hours, then shape and bake.
- Or you can mix the dough at night, store it in the refrigerator, and shape and bake in the morning.
I love the convenience of mixing dough at night and baking the following day, but you absolutely can mix and bake these the same day and get great results.
These brioche buns are perfect for burgers, pulled pork, and sandwiches of all kind, but I especially love them with Joanne Chang’s Famous Egg Sandwich from the Flour, Too cookbook:
You can sprinkle the buns with seeds or everything bagel seasoning, too:
5 Secrets to Foolproof Bread Baking
See how easy bread baking can be in my free ecourse!
If you have Bread Toast Crumbs, this is essentially 2/3 the light brioche recipe in the book with the sugar cut back by a bit more.
To create a warm spot for your bread to rise, turn your oven on for one minute, then shut it off. That brief blast of heat will create a cozy place for your bread to rise.
As always: for best results, use a digital scale to weigh the ingredients.
Water: Some people find this dough very wet and tricky to work with. If you live in a humid area, I would consider cutting some of the water back. If you are measuring with cups, hold 1/3 cup water. If you are using a scale, hold 75 g. You can always add the water back in when you are mixing if it seems dry. Reference the photos above and the video for how sticky/wet the dough should appear.
If using active dry yeast: Whisk the egg with the water. Add the heated milk-butter mixture. Stir to combine. The mixture should be lukewarm. Sprinkle the yeast over top and let stand for 15 minutes or until it gets foamy; then proceed with the recipe.
A Fun Variation: After brushing with the buns with the eggwash, sprinkle the buns with seeds or everything bagel seasoning.
- 4 cups (512 g) all-purpose or bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (10 g) kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) instant yeast, see notes above if using active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons (28 g) sugar
- 1 1/3 cups (300 g) cold water, or less, see notes above
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup (78 g) milk
- 4 tablespoons (57 g) butter
- for the egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Whisk together the flour, salt, yeast, and sugar.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the cold water and the egg.
- Heat the milk and butter together until the butter is melted. Pour this hot mixture into the cold water-egg mixture. The combined mixture should be perfectly lukewarm. Add it to the flour bowl and stir with a spatula till you have a sticky dough ball. Drizzle a teaspoon or two of olive oil over the dough and rub to coat — this prevents a crust from forming on the dough during the rising.
- Cover bowl and let rise in a warm area (see notes above) for 2 to 3 hours or until doubled. Alternatively, stick bowl in the fridge immediately and let it rise overnight or for 12 to 18 hours.
- Cover a work surface lightly with flour. Deflate dough, turn out onto work surface, and divide into 8 to 10 equal portions (use a scale and weigh each roll if you want perfectly even rolls: about 128 g each for 8 rolls and 102 g for 10 rolls). Using as much flour as necessary, roll each portion into a ball, and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan or two. I have an extra-large sheet pan (15x21x1) that I use to fit all 8 or 10 rolls on at once. (Note: If you refrigerate the dough, you can deflate it immediately after taking it out of the fridge … no need to let it come to room temperature first.)
- Let rise until the rolls puff and feel light to touch — 30-45 minutes roughly. Preheat the oven to 425ºF.
- Brush rolls with egg wash. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden all around. Transfer rolls to wire rack to cool completely.
- Prep Time: 3 hours
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Bread
- Method: Oven
- Cuisine: French, American
Keywords: no-knead, brioche, buns, best, easy