Could any dish be more ‘street’ than the ubiquitous burger? It’s famous across the world, thanks in part to global fast-food chains, but I think the very best burgers are the ones you build yourselves, adding all the extras you fancy and leaving behind those you don’t. This one is my favourite – a smoked bacon cheeseburger slathered with smoky hot mayonnaise. you will need to begin this recipe the day before you want to eat, as the brioche dough is proved overnight. The burgers can also be made the day before, as they develop a great flavour in the fridge overnight.
For the brioche rolls, place the flour, yeast, caster sugar and salt in the bowl of a food mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix briefly until combined. Pour in the milk and add the butter and eggs. Mix slowly at first, until well combined, then increase the speed and continue to beat for a further 10 minutes. During this time the dough should become smooth, shiny and stretchy. I would not advise making this dough by hand, as it is a wet and sticky dough and much easier to make using a food mixer. Scrape the dough into a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to prove at room temperature for an hour, then transfer to the fridge and leave overnight.
In a large bowl, combine the onion, Marmite, herbs and salt and pepper to taste, to make a paste. Add the minced beef and mix through lightly, trying to avoid overworking the beef. Divide the mixture into 6 even-sized balls and flatten each one between the palms of your hands until about 1.5cm thick and 12cm in diameter. At this point, you can interleave the burgers with cling film or baking parchment and refrigerate until you are ready to cook.
Once the brioche has had its overnight prove, remove from the fridge and tip on to a lightly oiled worktop, kneading briefly to knock it back. Cut into 6 pieces, weighing each for accuracy if you want to ensure even-sized buns. Take each piece and roll into a ball, then flatten slightly to a thick disc. Pinch up the sides by pressing and pleating on top, working all the way round, then flip over so it’s seam side down, cupping under your palm and rolling into a perfectly smooth, round bun. Repeat with the remaining pieces, placing them well spaced out on a lightly greased baking tray as you go. Leave to prove for another hour at room temperature.
For the smoky hot mayonnaise, combine the mayonnaise, Sriracha sauce and paprika in a bowl, and season to taste with black pepper. Set aside in the fridge until needed. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6. Place a dish of water in the base of the oven to create a steamy atmosphere. Brush the tops of the buns with a little beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake the buns for about 25– 30 minutes, until a deep golden brown. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
When you are ready to eat, grill the burgers on a medium-hot barbecue or under a grill for about 3–4 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your liking. Adopt a strict one-turn-only policy with your burgers – this not only allows a caramelised crust to develop, which adds much in the flavour department, but also minimises the chance of the burgers falling apart.
Once the burgers have been turned, grill the slices of bacon until crisp. With about a minute or two to go on the burgers, top each with a slice of cheese so it begins to melt a little. Split the buns open and toast the cut sides for a minute or so.
To assemble, dollop a little smoky mayo on the base of each bun. Add some lettuce to each and top with the burger and cheese. Finally, add 3 pieces of bacon, a squeeze of ketchup, if using, or a little more mayo, and top with the other half of the bun. Serve immediately.