The rise of the brioche bun

To preface this article I would like to make it clear that I do like brioche buns. They are delicious, soft pillows of goodness. However it has come to my attention that these buns have managed to take a stranglehold on the Melbourne burger market over the past couple of years.

The question is why? What has made the brioche bun the go to choice for burger venues across Melbourne? Well for one, it’s delicious. The brioche varies from other breads because of its high butter content, which helps give the distinct glossiness and colour. Because of this, the brioche is almost a cross between a bread and a pastry, and this type of bread is therefore perfect for a burger. It allows the juices from the burger to fill the bun without it becoming soggy, and its distinct flavour and texture works perfectly with whatever toppings may be spilling out the side. Check out the making of a brioche bun and the delicious burger combinations in this video.

So the buns popularity can certainly be attributed to it’s taste, but what else? Why have so many of the top burger joints in Melbourne converted to the brioche. My theory. Because it’s a trend.

In this modern age of social media, it’s almost impossible to spend a day on Facebook or Instagram without seeing someone’s lunch pop up, and the amount of food related blogs and accounts must be rising by the day. So, we see these photogenic buns and the related hashtag explaining how amazing the burger was, and we immediately crave it. Then we go get one, discover the wonders of the brioche, and do exactly the same thing. Share it with the world. So once the brioche had become the instagrammers go to burger, the other burger venues had to match suit. No one wanted the plain white roll anymore, it was about its sexy new cousin the brioche. And so the brioche revolution began. Click the link below to see how the brioche bun has gradually taken over ‘the burger adventures’ top 10 list.

A testament to the power of this trend has come in the last year, with McDonalds introducing their create you taste burger menu, in response to the growing burger scene in Melbourne and indeed Australia. And you’ll never guess which burger bun features in their advertising. The wholemeal bun! No that’s not true, the brioche is front and centre once again.

If you check out the top burger lists on the various food related websites, at least 6 have brioche buns. And that’s being modest. Recently an article was published on the urban list about the top 5 burgers in Melbourne. In the description, the author actually mentions the brioche by name! Who would have thought 5 years ago the humble bun would be as integral an element as the fillings inside. Check out the article, and look at the pictures of these delightful burgers. I’m sure you’ll notice a certain bun in all but one of the photos. That’s a pretty damn good strike rate for the brioche.

A good case study for the brioche comes in my local area of East Ivanhoe. In a small shopping strip there are 5 separate cafes all competing for business. None had a brioche bun burger on the menu until recently when one added it. Now, as you can imagine, all but one have added the bread to their burger. I spoke with the local bakery which is also located in the shopping strip, and they told me that the brioche, apart from the pies, sell out the quickest, because of the demand from the cafes and the general burger loving public. This is staggering to me. Simply adding the word brioche to a burger ended up causing a chain reaction, which caused cafes to abandon their classic bun and follow the brioche trend. When I spoke to one of the cafes owners, he told me that there was no choice but to change, otherwise you risk having a “fish and chip shop burger”. And we can’t have that now can we. Below you will see this area, and how close these places are to each other.

This bun which may have started as a trend is now an integral part of Melbourne’s ever growing burger scene. And I highly doubt too many people would be complaining about that. Maybe the gluten free folk out there. So go get your hands on one now. After this much burger talk, I know I will.