Steak Burgers with Brioche Burger Buns

First week at the restaurant has been composed of aching calves and glutes, and has seen the return of the irritating trigger finger. Not only is my body useless by the end of the day, my mind is too. Communication is tiring. I felt like I was faring a little better by the end of the week as I had stopped translating everything in my head and felt more confident about my awful French. Besides, speaking without thinking is something I’m quite comfortable with anyway, as most of my close friends and family would have experienced at some point.

Initially I was plucking buckets and buckets of salad leaves, basil, coriander, mint, tarragon and watercress. So I shed a tear of joy when I was entrusted with mackerel fillets to debone, and fifteen minutes later I was shedding tears of pain as my trigger finger started acting up from the repetitive strain.

Luckily I’ve been getting fed at work twice a day and can steer clear off frozen pizzas for the time-being. But I am still excited by burger o’clock. I really do enjoy burgers so very much. What’s there not to like? If it’s a good burger it must be compiled with the following:
1. Fluffy, soft, sweet and savoury, white bun, lightly toasted
2. CHEESE – N&D introduced me to the Mighty Blue Cheese Burger and it surprised me…it was actually really really good, especially with red onions. Otherwise, plain ol’ cheddar does the job very well
3. Tomato. I generally run a mile from the gigantic, super red, gassed to death, watery things which grocers and super-markets pass-off as tomatoes. They taste of nothing. The best tasting tomatoes I’ve had are the grape tomatoes. I’m not sure if them being on the vine or off makes any difference to the taste, but they are delicious raw or roasted. I wouldn’t necessarily shove them in a burger either. They would be absolutely fine by me on the side in lieu of chips.
4. Something green. You know…to count towards your five-a-day

Making brioche by hand is no fun at all. Just a lot of sweat and force. When I discovered how easy it was to make a brioche dough in a Kitchen Aid I was overjoyed! Hoorah for dough hooks! It doesn’t really help cutting down on time investment – you’d still need at least three hours for proofing (it’s best to proof overnight) but it definitely helps cutting down on the labour intensity.

100% buff burger in a buff brioche bun

Brioche Burger Buns

Since gifting a Kitchen Aid mincing attachment to N&D we’ve been using it to mince EVERYTHING. Chicken, lamb, and beef get minced up well, onions not so much.

N&D's ridiculous foie gras burger

Beef Burger
Filet steaks (allow 170g per portion)
Cumin (a pinch per portion)
Salt
Egg white

1. Mince the beef. Season with salt and cumin. Fry a small piece to check for seasoning. Adjust seasoning.
2. Beat a couple of egg whites lightly with a fork. Add in a small dash for each portion. Form into burger shapes for whatever size you fancy. I prefer medium-sized (just so I can have two). try not to make them too thick or else they might not warm up in the middle when cooking.
3. Let the burger meat come to room temp before cooking. Using a grill pan on medium heat with some peanut oil sear one side for colour. Flip over once the side is coloured nicely and colour the other side. When the meat is just firm to the touch it is medium-rare. If you’ve got good filet steaks then chowing them rare should not be a dodgy affair. Medium-rare is a fair compromise (and my ideal burger). Well-done belongs dans la poubelle.

Brioche Burger Buns
250g Plain flour
12g Dry Active Yeast
5g Salt
10g sugar
175g eggs
2 egg yolks mixed with a little water or cream
150g butter
Sesame seeds
Warm water or milk (to be measured by eyeballing)

1. Mix the yeast and sugar in a bit of warm milk or water.
2. Sift the flour. Put in a mixer bowl and, using a beating attachment, mix the salt into the flour. Add in the yeast-sugar mixture, and mix on a low-medium speed.
3. Add in the eggs one by one and continue beating. Once well-mixed, add in all the butter at once. Continue beating. If mixture seems dry, add in some warm milk or water. Change the attachment to a dough hook. Knead till the dough comes off the sides of the bowl, or roll a small piece of dough between the fingers and stretch to see if a thin veil is formed without tearing.
4. Take the dough out, form a ball and place in a bowl. Let it rest and raise for 45 minutes before punching it down. Let it rest again for another hour (or 24 hours for ze bezt brioche in ze ‘ole world).
5. Punch down a couple of times before breaking it up into balls. Place on a floured baking tray. Egg wash it well with a brush. Sprinkle sesame seeds.
6. Bake at 200C for about 15 minutes till golden brown.
7. Slice in half, sandwich in burger with whatever else you fancy, munch.

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