Flamboyant Flamingo Buns!

Posted February 12, 2018 – Narrated by Carmen
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No fancy restaurant dinners for us. Big ol’ hot pink buns are the LIB way to say, “I love you.”

That’s right. I’m talking brioche buns here – Beet brioche – the Dolly Parton of burger buns.

My weaknesses have always been food and men – in that order.” – Dolly Parton

There’re some great video recipes out there for beetroot brioche and breads, and that’s because they’re gorgeous – and so easy you can do them in your RV.

The detail would probably look better in solid black sesame seeds, but since we’re camping we used what we had.

At first, our tiny 900 watt oven was a mystery – but now it’s easy as pie.

Sometimes we have to downsize a recipe or do it in batches, or invent a new technique – but so far the results are better than expected, like these:

Beetroot Brioche Buns for the “Sharp Grill 2” Convection/Microwave Oven

Shopping list:

  • About a cup of roasted, peeled and cubed beetroot
  • Olive Oil
  • 6 tablespoons of softened unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon of honey or sugar
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Sesame seeds for decorating – either mixed or all black

*Special equipment: A 13″ x 14″ baking sheet – but, since I can’t find a 13″ x 14″ baking sheet, I made a bread proofing sheet from a piece of thick cardboard and lined it with aluminum foil. This cardboard sheet is NOT for baking – only for proofing bread.

There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” ― George Bernard Shaw

Preheat the Sharp Grill 2 Convection/Microwave Oven to 400F (Select “convection” and 1 (preheat), 8 (400F), and set time for 40 minutes.

Rub the beet with olive oil and place it on a Silpat in the center of the preheated oven and roast until soft – about forty minutes.

When the beet is cool, discard the peel. Then cube the beet and puree with 6 tablespoons of butter. This can be done with a simple masher or hand mixer but I used our Vitamix to avoid stains.

Heat ¾ cup of milk till it is just warm to the touch. Do not overheat.

This is actually 1/4 cup of cream and water. We don’t drink milk, so it’s easier to keep a small container of cream.

Dissolve the packet of yeast and tablespoon of honey in the warm milk.

Set aside the yeast/honey mixture and let rest until it turns foamy – about 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, beat one of the eggs and set it aside.

Sift 3 ½ cups of flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the beet butter and incorporate it with a rubber spatula

… until it has a crumbly consistency.

Then, pour in the yeast mixture, and the beaten egg …

… and stir until a soft dough forms.

Now, for the sexy part!

Clear and clean your table and lightly spray the surface with olive oil. With a wet spatula, scrape all of the dough out of the bowl onto the oily surface. Now, in a standing position over the table, scoop up the dough with your hands and slap and fold (also called French Kneading) repeatedly, for 8 to 10 minutes. Throughout this process, the dough will tighten and become less sticky and more manageable.

But before you do the French kneading make sure your stabilizers are down and put some baby-makin’ music on. Your neighbor’s imagination will run wild.

Once your dough is smooth and elastic in texture, lightly oil the inside of a bowl that will easily fit into the Sharp Grill 2 Convection/Microwave Oven. I always use the Lekue Silicone Bread Maker (I hope to post more about this wonderful little helper in the future) for proofing dough.

Place the dough in the oiled bowl and then lightly oil the top.

Close the tab on the top Lekue Silicone Bread Maker or place a cover over the bowl.

At this point, I could put the dough in the oven, close the door and wait 2-4 hours – but it’s too close to dinner time and I need to speed the proofing. So, I place a small sauce pot filled to half with boiling water beside the bowl on the turntable and close the door.

This step is proofing, NOT baking! The oven MUST be cool!

Within 30 minutes the dough is doubled in size and ready for the next step.

Score the dough into eight equal parts. Shape each into a boule.

Then, cover the homemade 13″ x 14″ cardboard sheet with parchment paper, spray with oil and place each bun on the sheet as far apart as possible while allowing space in the center for the pot of hot water.

Very carefully place the loaded homemade sheet into the oven.

Spray olive oil on one side of a sheet of plastic wrap and cover the buns with the wet side, then gently place a pot of boiling hot water filled to half in the center.

Immediately close the door and proof for about 20-30 minutes. *Again, this step is not baking, so do not turn on the oven for any reason.

When the buns are proofed (about twice the size), take them out of the oven and set aside.

Now, remove the round turntable from the oven and, again, preheat at 400F. Meanwhile, line the turntable with parchment paper. Whisk an egg with a teaspoon of water and wash each bun with the egg mixture …

… and decorate with sesame seeds.

I found some flamingo figures online and freehanded them onto the back of a cardboard chocolate bar wrapper and cut them out with scissors.

Now, place four of the seeded buns on the round turntable allowing room in the center for a small oven-safe container of hot water filled to half. Place the turntable, buns loaded, inside the preheated oven – then, carefully place the container of hot water onto the center of the turntable.

Close the door and bake for 15 minutes or until the buns are almost turning brown. Transfer to a rack to cool and remove any offending seeds. Repeat this step for the next four buns.

I like to use the Surpas Rack over my sink for quick, efficient cooling.

Whew! Just in time! Buns are ready …

Dishes are clean …

Jim is back from the market with fresh grouper and cucumbers and I still have time to make an Asian dressing for the spiral salad.

Our Spiral Slicer makes a perfect cucumber salad.

Happy Valentines Day! 

So, does this grouper burger make my buns look big?