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In Bread, Recipe on
September 11, 2011

Soft Buns

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!!
Hope you all had plenty of fun lighting lanterns and eating mooncakes 😀

I was originally going to write about some snowskin mooncakes I made a two days ago……..

Unfortunately, they all got gobbled up before I had the chance to take photos. (they were that good) Don’t worry- I’ll be making them again very soon!!

Instead, I’ll tell you about something not as sweet, but equally as good!

It’s been a while since I’ve baked bread, so when I saw these extremely soft buns on Shirley’s blog, I couldn’t wait to make them. I’d been wondering why the buns I bought from Asian bakeries were always soft wrinkly whilst the ones which came out of my oven, though soft, always remained unwrinkly- call me strange, but I think wrinkly buns are beautiful! Better still, the recipe was was simple, consisting only of a quick roux to be made the night before- perfect for someone in a lazy mood 🙂

I wanted to keep my buns simple, so I just twisted them into a knot, as I’d seen in one of my cookbooks (though mine didn’t turn out quite as pretty). The buns turned out very soft, as I’d expected and were especially good straight out of the oven.

I think I’m starting to get hooked on bread baking again!!


Soft Buns

Recipe from Køkken69

Water Roux
50g Bread Flour
75g Boiling water

Bread Dough
6gm Active Dry East
160gm Bread Flour
40gm Plain Flour
50gm Sugar
2gm Salt
50gm Water
1 Egg
40gm Butter

1. Mix water roux ingredients together in a bowl. Cover bowl with cling wrap and store in fridge for 12 hours.
2. In a mixer fitted with a bread hook, add flour, yeast, sugar, egg and water. Start mixing at slow speed for 2 mins. Add salt and continue to knead until dough lifts from the wall of the mixing bowl.
3. Add (1) and continue to knead for 3 mins.
4. Add butter and increasing kneading speed to speed 4.
5. Continue kneading for 15 mins on speed 4 until dough is no longer sticky and does not break when pulled to perform window test.
6. Place dough in a slightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling wrap and leave to proof in a warm area for 45mins.
7. With lightly floured hands and table top, knead (6) to form a smooth round ball. Divide dough into 12 balls – about 40g each.
8. Roll each small ball into a round ball and leave to proof for 10mins. Shape into a knot (or whatever you want to shape it into!) then leave to proof for 1 hour.
9. Brush with egg white and decorate.
10. Bake at 185C for 8-10mins until brown. Leave to cool.

* I made mine in my bread machine, but I’ll point out that if you do, you should put the roux before the dough forms- bread machines do a terrible job of incorporating wet things into dry doughs. It took mine almost the whole of the kneading cycle to knead the roux in!

In Bread, Recipe on
July 5, 2010

Coconut roll buns

We’ve come to another school holiday again- another one of these short two week holidays which pass so quickly that by the end of it no one really remembers doing anything important. This holiday, however, is supposed to be slightly different as we have trials coming up shortly after we return to school- I think there’s an expectation that we spend most of it studying *shiver*. Infact, yesterday, our principal even advised us to balance our study with 3 or 4 days of relaxation (or no studying)

I’ll be lucky if I even get 2 days of studying done.

Which will inevitably end up with me staying at home on the last day of the holidays trying to finish whatever homework was set, wishing that I’d done it before so that I wouldn’t have to stay up til midnight doing it. It happens every time =]

It’s funny how it only seems like a couple of weeks ago that we started off this term. I still remember sitting in front of the computer, and writing out my Cocktail Buns post after school a couple of months ago, excited about all the recipes I’d try during the holidays and all the activities I’d planned to do. And now, I’m sitting here doing almost the same thing .

Time plays funny tricks on me though- whilst it has flown by incredibly quickly, at times it passes painstakingly slowly. Take yesterday for instance, when I was sitting in my physics class, slowly counting the last 7 minutes until I could go home. Those 7 minutes felt so long! Not that I should be complaining- I got to leave school 2 hours earlier than everyone else =]

But then again, time plays funny tricks on me all the time- in the kitchen, twenty minutes passes in a flash when I’m whipping up a cake batter, but seems to take forever whilst waiting for a cake to cool. Which is why I love baking things which can be eaten (almost) straight from the oven- even if they burn my tongue =] I guess that’s one of the reasons I love baking bread.

There’s still so much for me to learn when it comes to bread baking, (and baking in general) so it was about time I tried something new with bread. Not simply a new recipe, but a new technique, known as the water roux method. Instead of throwing all the ingredients together, this requires the flour to be cooked in water to form a paste to be added to the dough. Whilst this doesn’t sound too exciting, it seemed more fun than the normal method, and I’d read that it produces a very soft and fluffy bun too!


I love the versatility of Asian bread dough- it’s amazing how one simple bread dough can be made into a billion different types of buns, each so different from one another. Infact, so different that I once thought that each type of bun used a different dough altogether! I was shocked when I first bought a book on Asian breads, to find that out of the hundred or so recipes in there, that they all used the same bread dough recipe! For my first attempt at this dough, I thought I’d keep it simple and make my favourite- coconut roll buns.

When we first saw these buns at an Asian bakery, my mum told me of how she used to love to eat them when she was young. The coconut buns sold in bakeries in Hong Kong were much larger (and cheaper) than these ones in Sydney and unravelling such a large bun was not only fun but extremely satisfying. Unfortunately, coconut buns of such size are nowhere to be found in Sydney but a smaller, ‘standard’ sized version can be found in most Hong Kong style bakeries, as all the breads are usually the same size. The filling is much like that of a cocktail bun, only less buttery but tastes just as good. I’ve also found that they taste best after a little heating up in the toaster- drying up the coconut a little bit and giving the bun a little crunchiness on the crust!


Since I couldn’t find any large coconut roll buns here, I decided to make jumbo sized buns with this bread dough. The dough was not too difficult to make, although heating the roux up to 65 degrees was a little more difficult that I thought it’d be because it’s hard to mix with a spoon, hold a thermometer and read it at the same time. And then I accidentally turned off the heat when it was 60 degrees so I had to start again (I don’t actually think it would have made a difference though). The dough turned out too wet and I ended up hand kneading it for half the time, to get the right stickiness (which took forever….)

In the end, I forgot about making huge coconut buns, which may have been easier to shape than these ones because I rolled the dough out too big so I had to flatter them with my palm, which is why the ends stick out (woops =P)


But that’s okay because when I took these out of them oven, they didn’t look too bad- and they smelt delicious! (but then again anything with coconut in it smells delicious) And then, when we pulled apart these buns, still hot (of course), we were pleasantly surprised to find that not only did they taste just like the coconut buns from Asian bakeries, they tasted even better because they were hot soft and fluffy too! They were definitely the softest buns I’ve ever made, and are seriously addictive- we ate almost half the batch straight away (I only made 8 though) despite the fact that dinner was almost ready……


Hong Kong Style Coconut Roll

Recipe from Hong Kong Breads by Yau Yung Ling
Dough recipe from Corner Cafe

375g bread flour
100g plain flour
35g milk powder
75g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 sachet (7g or 2 1/2 tsp) instant dry yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
40g butter, cubed


25g (just under 2 tbsp) bread flour
125ml (1/2 cup) water

84g coconut shreds
2g melted
56g sugar
¼ egg
Some vanilla essence (I used a drop)

Some plum jam/butter

1. To make the roux, mix together the flour and the water and heat over medium heat until it reaches 65 degrees celcius. Turn the heat off and leave to cool until lukewarm
2. To make the dough, mix together all the dry ingredients and make a well in the middle of the mixture. Add the egg and the water roux and mix. Add the water until a soft dough it formed and then knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic (~10 min) Knead in the butter until it is incorporated. If making it in a breadmachine, put in all the water and dry ingredients and let it knead for a while. Add the water roux and let it knead, adding water or flour as necessary. Add the butter when the dough becomes smooth (~10minutes). For more detailed instructions, go to Corner Cafe
3. Place the dough in a warm spot to rise until double its size (~1 hour)
4. To make the filling, mix all ingredients (except egg) together
5. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and roll one portion into a rectangle. You can roll the rectangle into as long as you want but don’t let the width exceed 15cm (or else it will tuen out the wrong size). Brush some egg and spread a quater of he filling on top, roll the dough up like a swiss roll and cut into four pieces (like pinwheels, I guess). If you accidentally rolled it too wide, you can try flattening the dough with your palm- just press down! Repeat with the other 3 portions of dough. You should end up with 16 buns
6. Place on a baking tray and cover with cling wrap. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until double in size (mine took about 2.5 hours….)
7. Brush the top with egg wash and bake at 180oC for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the hot buns with jam or butter immediately after baking.

In Bread, Recipe on
April 3, 2010

Cocktail Buns

I’m extremely happy to say: the school holidays have finally arrived! And I’m also proud to tell you that I spent my first three of these precious days baking (duh!), eating and catching up on the sleep I’ve been deprived of over the last two weeks. No longer do I have to half blog-half study (tehehe)- I can actually sit down and blog properly. It actually feels strange– it’s been so long since I’ve done so!

I usually like to spend the last week or so of the term planning what I’ll do in the holidays. Usually, this involves me writing a huge list of things I want to do but by the time I get to the holidays, I don’t actually feel lilke doing any of it (until the last two days of the holidays). This time, I ended up writing a list of things that I wanted to make (food, of course) which ended up with almost 100 different recipes I wanted to try. And these were only things I’d read about in the last 2 weeks or so! You see, the last two weeks were exams, and when I try to study, I often end up looking at a lot more blogs than I would normally- I’m terribly good at procrastinating =]

Of course, I’ll be lucky if I even end up making 10 of these things, but I guess we’ll just have to see. Meanwhile, there are these cute little cocktail buns I made a while ago:

This was actually not my first attempt at making cocktail buns, although the first probably didn’t really count. The first was a couple of years ago when I wasn’t all too familiar with baking. I didn’t have any seasame seeds in the house and was not bothered making mexican cream so I decided to make cocktail buns in the shape of turtles (I used to be a bit more creative!) Unfortunately, the yeast I used was probably dead, and so after 6 hours of proofing, they weren’t any bigger than they originally were. The buns did not really taste like bread and we ended up throwing the whole lot in the bin. I wasn’t going to be making cocktail buns for a while!

After figuring out that it was the yeast’s fault, and also being a bit more familiar with bread making, I decided to try these again (but with a different recipe) following a request from my sister. I’ve never actually liked cocktail buns- whenever we go to Asian bakeries,I usually go for curry buns whilst my sister and dad will choose cocktail buns. However, cocktail buns are a classic, and I knew that if I made them I would eat them so I went ahead and made them. I used the straight dough method, for its simplicity and the fact that I knew it probably wouldn’t fail on me.

The filling had a surpiringly high amount of butter- who would have thought that these innocent little cocktail buns had so much fat in the filling? The fact that the mexican cream was made out of butter, flour and sugar was also surprising- I’d thought it was made out of flour, sugar and water, like the top of hot cross buns. The recipe was extremely vague- it said to mix all the ingredients together. Perahps I did it wrong, but the mexican cream was not ‘creamy’ at all- it was more like pastry dough. I tried to heat it and pipe it but it was too stiff to pipe so I ended up rolling it out and sticking it on. It looks pretty bad but at least it made the buns sorta resemble cocktail buns!

The buns didn’t turn out as terrible as my first attempt but nowhere near as good as the ones we get from the bakery. The mexican cream was mostly a failure- it turned out tasting like shortcrust pastry. However, the filling tasted a lot like that of normal cocktail buns which we buy! Other than the splotchy appearance, the bread itself wasn’t too bad- it was soft and fluffylike most home baked breads. This didn’t last too long though- they turned hard the next day, and even a zap in the microwave help much. I guess that’s what happens with bread made with the straight method!
The one thing I learnt from this experience though, was that cocktail buns are a lot unhealthier than they may seem. I think the amount of butter in the filling scared my sister- she doesn’t eat cocktail buns as frequently these days! Not that I really care anyway, even if I liked them, which I think is the second thing I learnt- I really don’t like them!

Cocktail Bun Recipe

Recipe from Hong Kong Breads by Yau Yung Ling

448g strong flour
112g caster sugar
7g yeast
42g butter
168g warm water
1 egg (about 50g)
56g milk
Some yellow food colouring- egg yellow or lemon yellow (optional)
4g bread additive (I’m guessing its bread improver?)

56g soft flour (I used cake/low gluten flour)
56g coconut shreds
70g soft butter
70g vegetable butter (I used margarine)
56g sugar
42g milk powder

Mexican Cream
84g Strong Flour
56g butter
28g sugar

Some beaten egg
Some sesame seeds

Place all ingredients except butter into bread machine (according to the directions your bread machine manual!) Set to Dough function. Add in the butter after 8 ~ 10 mins into the kneading cycle. When the dough has finished kneading, remove dough from machine and put it in a bowl covered with cling wrap

Let ferment for 60 minutes, or until double in volume.

Filling- Mix all butter and sugar to milky white colour. Mix in all other ingredients

Divide he fermented dough into 16 portions. Add the filling and make into a piglet shape (or just the shape of a cocktail bun!) and put on a baking tray to let prove until double in size (I covered it with cling wrap)

Mexican Cream -Mix all ingredients together

Brush egg wash on top and pipe some Mexican cream on and top with sesame seeds. Bake at 200oC for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
Btw, Happy Easter to everyone!