The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

My house is full of breads yet I couldn't help making these

althetrainer's picture

My house is full of breads yet I couldn't help making these

I always wanted to try making Asian buns.  Was fascinated with the soft crumb and sweet fillings.  Just this week I found some recipes and I was going to wait until next week because I have already baked four loaves of sandwich bread.  But I was at home today and my hands were very itching and I finally gave in.  Man, I need therapy!


(1) Buttercream Buns


(2) Pineapple Buns (also have buttercream filling)

SylviaH's picture

Lovely Buns, AT!  Hey you can always freeze the extra  " Oh dear, I hope you have room in your freezer!...your so i was doing the dinner dishes i was day dreaming about TFL having a Therapy Forum for frustrated bread bakers..I pictured several members chatting about what's the worst habit they have when making bread..."seriously"  ha, ha....I swear a lot of members are on the same mental esp wave length...I must have heard your post..while doing dishes!!  I need therapy too!! 

Sylvia ; )

dmsnyder's picture

Hi, Sylvia.

Can't you tell?

TFL is a place where the inmates run the asylum.


mredwood's picture

Your buns look yummy and I think I need therapy. I am not going to be sure until after I make & try those buns. How about the recipe or link to it. 


Yippee's picture


You made my hands itch, too! But I must finish my projects on hand before catching up with you. 



ladychef41's picture

I'd love to have the recipe also!



althetrainer's picture

I am only going to post the recipe for the bun because the filling is the easy part and that you can put whatever fillings you want in it.  If you want to use filling with this recipe, make sure you have the filling ready before the final proofing.

This sweet bun dough can be used to make various types of sweet bread.  I made the whole recipe and divided the dough into two; made 10 butter cream buns and 10 pineaspple buns.  If you wish to make just 10 small buns, you may want to half the recipe.

To make the water roux starter:

25 g bread flour (I used unbleached)

125 g water

Mix flour with water until smooth.  Cook over medium heat, stir constantly, until temperature reaches 65C/150F.   Remove from heat and cover mixture with a plastic wrap and cool to lukewarm or room temperature.  This starter can be refrigerated up to 3 days.  Once the color turns grey it cannot be used.




375 g **unbleached flour

80 g whole wheat flour

20 g vital wheat gluten

(**you can use bread flour, in that case use 375 g bread; 100 AP, no vwg needed)

35 g buttermilk powder (or regular powdered milk)

75 g superfine sugar (caster sugar)

3/4 tsp salt

8 g (about 2 tsp) active dry yeast


1 large egg

Water roux starter

150 ml (approx.) warm water


45 g butter (cubed)


Mix all ingredients in <A>; make a well in center then aded <B>.  When you add warm water, do it a little bit at a time because you may not need all 150 ml.  Knead until a slightly sticky, soft dough is formed.  Add <C> and continue to knead until passes windowpane test (I know some of you are not a big fan of this test so it's up to you).

Form dough in a ball and let rise until double.  Punch down and divide dough into 8 - 10 (or 16 - 20, if you use the full recipe) pieces.

If filling is desired, flatten out each piece of dough, put filling in the middle then seal the edge with a twist.  Place sealed side down on a lightly greased baking sheet.  Let rise until double again.  Brush with eggwash; sprinke buns top with sesame or poppy seeds.

Bake at 190C/375F for 12 - 14 minutes or until golden brown.



ladychef41's picture

Would still love to have the cream filling recipe you used for this as cream fillings can react differently, and yours looked like it really withstood the heat!!!



althetrainer's picture

I really didn't use any recipe for that part.  I am one of those people who just keep playing with things until they look, feel, and smell right.  For the buttercream buns I probably used about 50 g each of softened butter, icing sugar, then powdered milk.  I remember the filling turned out a bit soft and that's why I threw in some unsweetened coconut (about 1/4 C).  First mix the butter with sugar, once it's all smooth you can add the rest.  Shape into a long piece then divide into as many pieces you wish and fill away. 

For the pineapple bun streusel crust, I used about 60 g each of softened butter, icing sugar, and AP flour.  Oh I probably added a couple tsp of milk powder, a bit of salt, and some egg white.  I added the egg because I wanted my streusel crust spreadable.  If you want modable crust you may want to reduce some of the wet ingredients.  Have fun experimenting!


ladychef41's picture

I thought I detected some coconut in there!!!! Thanks.... sounds good

althetrainer's picture

Maybe we can start a therapy group for frustrated/out of control home bakers! Hahaha

ques2008's picture

sometimes i think breads are better-looking than...better not continue this line.  love those pictures!

Paddyscake's picture

I've never had an Asian Bun (and I'm half Japanese, go figure!) I realize you can eat them any time you want, just wondering what meal they normally are associated with. Are they ever fruit filled? That's probably too messy, but it sounds good!


althetrainer's picture

Betty, I am not sure when these buns are normally served.  I wouldn't eat them for breakfast because they're sweet.  But if you ask my 7-year-old and my husband they would eat them any time.  This is the first time I have ever made these so no rules applied in my house.   When we go to China town we usually get them for a snack, it's more for convenience, not so much a cultural practice. 

aliao's picture

My husband is taiwnanese and I make these buns for breakfast.  They are wonderful warm,right out of the oven, with coffee. I like to make these with azuki beans(red bean), taro, coconut or custard filling.

althetrainer's picture

Wow, I don't think I can stomach so much sweet early in the morning.  I have tried the sweet bean paste but it was just too much for me. 

I put together a sweet bun dough last night and was going to make French pastry cream for filling... then I realized we're out of eggs!  Instead of waiting until I go grocery shopping I am expirementing with Bird's instant custard powder and some vanilla pudding powder.  Not sure how this is going to turn out (probably interesting) but I will give it a try once the custard is cooled. 

I would love to try a different pastry cream recipe.  Would you mind sharing your custard filling recipe?  Thanks!

aliao's picture

I make my own sweet bean paste, the ones at the stores are way too sweet. Sweet bean paste is very easy to make it just takes about 2 hours to boil the beans and then you can add as little or as much sugar as you like. I also add some butter or oil to them so they don't get dry while cooking.

My custard recipe

3/4 cup white sugar( I only use a little less than 1/2 cup, otherwise too sweet for my taste)
4 tbsp corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 tablespoons butter

In a saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add milk in gradually while stirring gently. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is bubbly about 5 minutes. Keep stirring and cook for about 2 more minutes, and then remove from the burner. 
Stir a small quantity of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks, and immediately add egg yolk mixture to the rest of the hot mixture. Cook for 2 more minutes; remember to keep stirring. Remove the mixture from the stove, and add butter. Stir until the whole thing has a smooth consistency. 

ladychef41's picture

Looks pretty much like a pastry cream, which is what I was going to use! Thanks!

No vanilla or vanilla bean??


aliao's picture

I think the original recipe called for vanilla but I don't use it. I like the egg flavor of the custard for these buns.

althetrainer's picture

Since I posted my original message of the butter cream buns, I had made 2 more batches of sweet buns for custard  & pastry cream fillings.  They were a big hit in the house.  I shared some with my Dutch neighbors and they liked it so much that they asked for the recipe.  We're going to make the next batch together.  Here are a couple of picutres of my 2nd batch, with custard filling.  Oh, the one on the far left... I was too greedy, trying to put in too much custard so the bun didn't close completely.  You can see the custard oozing out on top.

aliao's picture

Your custard buns look great! Did you put vanilla in the custard or did you leave it out?


althetrainer's picture

Thanks Alice! Vanilla is a must because my 7-year-old loves vanilla!

tannachan's picture

I live in Miami and miss the HK-style bakeries that sell pork floss (dried pork) buns and eggtarts, not to mention coconut and pineapple buns. A while ago I made hot dog and pineapple buns using a water roux starter. Some pictures:






Amidst all the talk about sourdoughs, ciabattas, and baguettes, I'm elated to find someone who appreciates this sweet bun dough. :-)