One of the food staples in our family is bread. We have them for breakfast with different spreads almost every morning. I’ve switched from buying bread to making them myself after I tried homemade bread several years ago. The taste and texture of homemade bread is so good and the ingredients more wholesome than store bought ones. There isn’t excessive sugar or any form of preservatives in homemade bread and I am convinced this is the healthier option for us.
I’ve tried a few bread recipes and I’m loving this one which yields soft bread rolls each time. Although breads made with tangzhong (water-roux) yields fluffier bread, sometimes I don’t have the time to take this additional step. Tangzhong, also known as water-roux, is a widely popular method used in making soft fluffy bread that lasts a bit longer than other breads. To make tangzhong, you will need to use one part bread flour to five parts water, mix the flour and water in a saucepan over low heat till you get a smooth paste. Once the mixtures reaches 65°C (149°F), remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover with cling wrap and allow it to cool completely before using. If you want to check out how to make tangzhong breads, you can check this post.
This recipe is my go-to if I don’t have time for tangzhong. There isn’t a lot of ingredients and the preparation is straightforward. The bread is soft and delicious and sometimes I add some fillings into the dough before baking.
Basic Bread Rolls
Ingredients (makes 8 rolls/buns):
- 220g bread flour
- 30g cake flour
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast
- 100ml fresh milk
- 70ml cold water
- 20g butter
- a little beaten egg for egg wash
- Put all ingredients except butter into the bowl of a stand mixer or bread pan of a bread machine. Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
- Add butter and continue kneading until the dough comes together (around 10 minutes).
- Transfer the dough into a slightly oiled bowl. Cover with damp towel or cling wrap and allow it to proof or double in size. This takes around one hour.
- After one hour, check if the dough has proofed properly by deeply depressing the dough with a clean finger. If the indentation in the dough stays then it is ready for the next step. Otherwise, let it proof for a while more.
- On a slightly floured work surface, knead the dough by hand for about five minutes to expel the gas in the dough, then cut the dough into 8 equal portions.
- Put the cut portions of dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with damp towel or cling wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, on a floured work surface and a slightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough into your desired shape. Add fillings if any and seal the dough.
- Set the dough on the baking sheet, cover with damp towel or cling wrap and allow it to proof for another one hour.
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C.
- Brush egg wash over the dough and bake for 15 minutes.
These are great with any spreads or they can be eaten plain with your favourite beverage. I slathered some peanut butter and paired it with coffee. If you like your bread slightly warm and toasty, just pop it in the oven for a few minutes and it’s as good as freshly baked again.
I made this twice last week . The second time, I sprinkled some sesame seeds on the top. It would be perfect if I had red bean paste to add as a filling.
Bak Kwa buns are really delicious. There aren’t many bakeries that sell this kind of bun. However it is very common to find its counterpart, pork floss bun sold in almost every bakery here in Singapore. Bak Kwa, also known as rougan in Mandarin is Chinese salty-sweet dried meat similar to jerky. Often times the meat is grilled over charcoal to give it a smoky flavour, then blended with a combination of spices, soy sauce and sugar. It can be used as an ingredient in other dishes or enjoyed on its own.
In the old times, Bak Kwa was an expensive, luxury food and families only splurged on it during Chinese New Year when they wanted to welcome prosperity for the coming New Year and offer lavish gifts for friends and family.
While it is no longer as expensive as it once was, it is still a traditional Chinese New Year food and welcomed gift for friends or relatives.
Bak Kwa is available throughout the year nowadays and people can enjoy it anytime, not just during Chinese New Year. I received a packet of Bak Kwa as a gift recently and I decided to use Bak Kwa as a filling for my bread buns today.
I used the water roux or tangzhong method in making the bread buns. Water roux makes bread extra soft, tender and fluffy. Water roux locks in the liquid throughout the entire process of mixing and baking. This results in breads that stay soft and fresh for longer. Water roux is basically a mixture of water and bread flour. To make it, you have to mix 1 part bread flour to 5 parts water (1:5 ratio) over 65 deg celcius. At 65°C, the gluten in the bread flour and water mixture would absorb the moisture and become leavened. Thus, when the water roux or tangzhong is added into other ingredients of a bread dough, it will be heightened and produce fluffier bread. The detailed description on how to make water roux is included in the recipe below. Here is the water roux I made.
Bak Kwa Buns
Ingredients (makes 12 buns):
For water roux:
20g bread flour
For bread buns:
195g bread flour
90g cake flour
12g milk powder
30g caster sugar
6g instant yeast
1 egg, lightly beaten
75g water roux
45g unsalted butter
a small portion of beaten egg for egg wash
2 slices Bak Kwa, cut into small pieces or diced
- To make water roux, place 20g bread flour in a saucepan. Add 100ml water, mix with a hand whisk till smooth, making sure there are no lumps of flour. Cook over medium to low heat, stirring constantly with the hand whisk to prevent it from burning. Within 1 to 2 minutes, the mixture will start to thicken, stop when you see traces in the mixture for every stir you make with the hand whisk. Immediately transfer the water roux into a bowl and cover it with a cling wrap, making sure the cling wrap sticks onto the surface of the mixture. This is to prevent a film from forming on the surface. Leave to cool completely before using it.
- To make the bread dough, place bread flour, cake flour, milk powder, sugar, salt, yeast, egg, water and water roux (use 75g) in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Let the mixer knead the dough on high speed until the ingredients come together to form a dough, this takes about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the butter and continue to knead for another 15 to 20 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic. Upon adding the butter, the dough will become wet again, add some flour if it remains wet after 10 minutes of kneading. (You can make the dough with a bread machine, follow the instructions of your bread machine for the steps in adding ingredients)
- Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with cling wrap and let it proof for about one hour or till it doubles in size.
- Remove the dough from the bowl to a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough to expel the gas in the dough. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions each weighing 45g. Roll each dough into smooth rounds, cover with cling wrap and let them rest for 10 minutes.
- On a lightly floured surface, flatten each dough into a round disc. Press out any trapped air as you flatten the dough. Wrap each dough with diced Bak Kwa. Pinch and seal the seam tightly.
- Place seam side down on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with cling wrap and proof for a second time for about one hour or till they double in size.
- Brush the top of each bun with egg wash.
- Bake in pre-heated oven at 180 deg celcius for 12 – 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to cool. Once cooled completely, store the buns in a airtight container.
These are so good. My daughter ate four in a day 🙂
bread bun recipe credit: happyhomebaking.blogspot.com
Our family has bread almost everyday, for breakfast and sometimes tea. We used to buy our bread from the supermarket and bakery until I started making them two years ago. I decided to buy a bread machine as I was really keen to make bread but I wasn’t very good and strong in kneading dough. It takes quite a bit of muscles to do the job well and I didn’t have the confidence in succeeding.
My bread machine has served up loaves of bread for us in this two years. In addition to the delicious and nutritious loaves we enjoy up till now, it has also helped me knead nice dough so I could experiment and make bread buns and bread rolls.
These are the cheese buns I made yesterday. I have found a good recipe for basic bread bun which I will share below. You can tweak your fillings and toppings. Have fun coming up with different buns!
Basic Bread Bun
(makes 8 buns)
recipe source: Cooking a Dream (with slight modifications)
250g bread flour
3 tablespoons milk powder**
2 tablespoons caster sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
110ml cold water (** if you don’t have milk powder use 110ml fresh milk instead of cold water)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
40g unsalted butter
a little beaten egg for egg wash
- Check the instructions of your bread machine and add the ingredients as per the machine’s instructions. For my machine I have to add dry ingredients first followed by wet ingredients (all except for butter which is to be added later). If you do not have a bread machine, you can use a mixer with a dough hook to knead the dough or you may also knead by hand.
- Select bread dough function to set the machine to knead the dough.
- Ten minutes into the kneading, add in the butter.
- Allow machine to continue kneading. After the kneading is completed, you can allow the dough to proof in the machine or you may take out the dough and place it in a well oiled bowl to proof it. I take mine out and proof it in a bowl covered with a plastic wrap or wet towel to prevent moisture loss.
- Allow dough to proof or double in size. This takes about 1 hour in a warm environment. Place the dough in a warm place in your house to proof.
- Once dough has proofed or doubled in size, do a window pane test to check if you are ready to proceed to the next step. Alternatively you can press the dough deeply with a finger. The depression should stay and your finger shouldn’t have any dough sticking on it.
- On a slightly floured surface, knead the dough by hand for 5 minutes to expel the gas in the dough.
- Cut the dough into equal sizes and roll them into balls. Place each dough ball on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover the dough balls with plastic wrap or a wet towel to prevent moisture loss. Let them rest for 10 minutes.
- Take each dough ball, lightly knead to expel gas. With a slightly floured rollling pin, roll the dough into a circular disc and add your filling in the centre of the disc. Wrap the dough and pinch the bottom to seal the dough. Repeat till all are done. Cover the dough with plastic wrap or wet towel and let them rest for another 1 hour or till dough doubles in size.
For the cheese buns I made, I rolled the dough into balls and let them rest for 1 hour. At the end of the second proofing, I applied egg wash on each dough ball before adding shredded cheese on top of the egg wash.
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- Apply egg wash over the dough balls. This step is already done for the cheese buns I made.
- Bake for around 15 minutes or till lightly golden brown on the tops.
- Allow the bread to cool on a cooling rack.