The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Brioche Hamburger Buns - Expert Advice Needed!

MatticusPDX's picture

Brioche Hamburger Buns - Expert Advice Needed!

Hi Bakers,

I manage a small(tiny) bakery in the back of a larger restaurant kitchen. The majority of our product output consists of brioche hamburger buns, which we make in both a 4oz and 1.5oz size, and they have been suffering from the same issue since before I took over as manager. This is that, post-baking, the tops of our buns have evident, large bubbles in them giving them an uneven, ugly appearance. Many also suffer from cracks all over the top, as though they had expanded and then slightly collapsed in the oven. Also, when we cut into them a lot of them have large air pockets inside which makes them unsalable.

I will post some pictures as soon as I am able showing the 'problem areas', but for now any advice anyone can give will be hugely appreciated! I have made brioche buns en masse at one of my past jobs and so I know from experience that these issues are absolutely solvable; sadly, I do not remember the recipe used in that kitchen so I cannot check it for comparison.

Lastly: The recipe we use comes from a sponge made each day for the next day's dough, which will then be fermented overnight in the refrigerator before being cut and formed the day following. All of our cutting and forming is done by hand.


Okay! Thank you so much in advance for any tips. This has the potential to be a consistently great bun and I look forward to getting it there.


MisterTT's picture

that hydration may be to high or the incorrect mixing method is used. This is just a shot in the dark - it will be far easier for TFL'ers to help you out if you share the exact formula and process you are using. Pictures would be helpful as well.

I have never made brioche into hamburger buns before, but I'd think it is a medium fat brioche dough which nonetheless has to mixed correctly, first developing the gluten without adding the fat, then incorporating it in stages. A good post to read is Phil's handling of brioche burger buns here:

tgrayson's picture

Uneven and/or inadequate degassing prior to shaping would be my guess.

Sounds like you have a very nice product though, with a preferment and overnight retardation. Kudos to you.

adam_dolcebakery's picture

It seems to me that you might be either over proofing them or adding too much fat. When we make ours we use a non fat milk powder added to water. When we use whole milk the buns look like they have melted. Flat, inedible. 

Or they are over proofed. Sometimes ours over proof (it drives me nuts) and they have huge air bubbles and are also flat. 

MatticusPDX's picture

Thank you all for the input; I will post my specific formula and a few photos soon. Had to make Reine De Saba today so I've got less time for everything else. ;)

I can say now that the whole milk in our recipe is only in the sponge we make the day prior to mixing our dough; the actual dough involves that sponge, liquid eggs, HG flour, bakers' sugar and a large amount of butter, which is added in cold chunks of about 4oz at a time as the dough is mixing in our stand-mixer. I am coming to strongly suspect that using cold butter may be part of our problem - maybe a big part. Uneven incorporation of the fat could go a long way towards creating large gas-pockets I think.

Photos and recipe to come soon!! Thanks again fellow Bakers.

FlourChild's picture

Cold eggs, warm butter for brioche.  Develop the gluten before adding the butter, then add soft butter bit by bit.

Also, are you degassing the dough often enough?  It probably needs it at least a couple of times while in the fridge, in addition to just before shaping.  The way to get a more even crumb is to let it rise and then degas, then repeat a couple more times.

Looking forward to seeing the formula.

MatticusPDX's picture

Hmm. We may need to set something up with the nighttime line cooks, as my staff is all done by 1pm at the latest, and so our brioche dough doesn't get degassed at all between the time we put it in the cooler to retard and the time it gets removed for cutting/forming around 3am the next day. The weird thing is that despite this, there have been time-periods where our buns were all coming out great I've been told, and the procedure has always been the same.

For the record I have not posted our specific recipe/procedure here as yet because I need to get clearance from my superior before I can do that. I know it is much harder to offer advice without these specifics, but until I get that approval I could easily lose my job over sharing such information so I need to be careful.

Thank you all for the tips, again, and I will keep checking back here and will post more specific info as soon as I get clearance!

pmccool's picture

How about just posting the %liquids and %fat, without mentioning what they are?  That would give people a notion of the dough characteristics without divulging the actual formula itself.