Light Brioche Buns
1 c. warm water (about 110 degrees f.), plus 2 t. water
3 T. warm milk (about 110 degrees f.)
2 t. active dry yeast
2 1/2 T. sugar
2 large eggs, divided
3 c. (15 oz.) bread flour
1/3 c. (1 1/2 oz.) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 t. salt
2 1/2 T. unsalted butter, softened,
*optional - sesame seeds and/or poppy seeds, for sprinkling on top
In a large measuring cup, combine warm water, warm milk, yeast and sugar. Let stand about 5 minutes, until it's foamy on top. Lightly beat one of the eggs, add that to the yeast mixture.
In the work bowl of a stand mixer, combine the bread flour, all-purpose flour and salt. Work the softened butter into the flour by rubbing it between your fingertips, until it is completely dispersed.
Using the dough hook attachment on your mixer, and running the mixer on low speed, add in the water/yeast mixture. After a minute or two, when everything more or less comes together (you may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the flour around the sides to get everything to mix together). Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for about 8-10 minutes. If your dough is still extremely wet (more batter-like than dough-like) you can add a little bit of extra flour at the end, a tablespoon at a time, until it comes together enough to handle.
Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead an additional minute or two and shape into a ball. Place in a large, lightly greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
When the dough has doubled, scrape it out again onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper, divide the dough evenly into 8 pieces (sprinkle the dough lightly with flour if sticking is a major issue). Shape each piece of dough into a ball and place evenly spaced onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let the buns rise until doubled in size, another 1-2 hours.
When buns are nearly finished rising, place a shallow baking pan, filled with about an inch of hot water, on the lowest rack of the oven (the buns will bake on the center rack). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees f. Beat the remaining egg with 2 t. water. Brush the risen buns lightly with egg mixture and if desired sprinkle with sesame and/or poppy seeds.
Bake the buns for about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through the baking time, to ensure even baking. Transfer the baked buns to a cooling rack and cool completely before serving.