Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Asian Bakery Style Milk Buns

Since making bread from scratch is such a lengthy process, I usually wait until the weekend before I undertake such a project.  Well, this weekend I made bread not once but twice which is a lot of arm work since I knead by hand.  And because we hardly ever make bread, the yeast in the fridge actually expired several months ago so I wasn't even sure if my bread would rise.

This method of bread making involves making a tangzhong which is a starter made from flour and water.  Adding this to the bread mix results in a loaf that is soft and fluffy like the ones found in Asian bakeries.


  The first batch I made I was a little over ambitious and I decided to make chocolate buns.  I really shouldn't tinker with recipes that I am trying out for the first time....Murphy's Law always holds true.  As well as adding cocoa powder, I didn't knead the butter into the dough properly and so my ball of dough wasn't really a ball and it was nice and glossy rather than being round, smooth and matte.  Also the oven was too hot hence the cracks.  

I had another crack at it the next day since I had some of the starter left.  This time I closely followed the recipe.  The result?  Buns so perfectly coloured, they look like they were airbrushed.  Next time I will be back to tinkering with the recipe.  ;)


Milk Buns
Adapted from Ivonne Chen, via like a strawberry milk

Makes 6 buns

For the tangzhong
50g  flour
250g water

For the dough
350g  flour
55g caster sugar
1tsp salt
one egg
125g milk
120g tangzhong
one tsp instant yeast
30g butter
, at room temperature 

For the wash
Milk or one egg, beaten

To make the tangzhong
  1. Whisk together the flour and  water until there are no lumps.  
  2. Cook this over a low to medium heat, whisking constantly until it reaches 65°C.  Place in a clean bowl and let it cool.

To make the dough
  1. Combine the flour, salt, yeast, sugar in a bowl.  In another bowl combine the tangzhong, milk and egg.  
  2. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix the liquid in until you get a sticky dough.  
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.  You will know when it is ready when you can stretch a piece of dough until it is very thin without it splitting.  
  4. Work the butter into the dough and knead until it is smooth.  
  5. Transfer to a lightly floured bowl and let it rise for 40 - 60 minutes or until doubled in size.
  6.  Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch to deflate.  Divide the dough into 6 piece and knead each piece into a ball.  
  7. Place onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper and let the dough rise for another 40 minutes.  While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 180°C or 170°C for fan-forced ovens.  
  8. Brush the dough with the eggwash or milk.  
  9. Bake for 20 - 30 minutes until the bread is golden brown.  Transfer to a wire rack.
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