Baked Red Bean Buns
Like everyone else, I'm baking sourdough breads, but among the things my kids mentioned missing during the quarantine were Red Bean Buns. I haven't baked them in years, but it is a relatively easy one to make -- assuming you have access to red bean paste (If you don't have access to red bean paste, pineapple buns are also reasonably simple to make). I recalled a recipe that was posted on this site years ago and have made them a couple of times in the past couple of weeks. They've been really good.
Baked Red Bean Buns (焗豆沙飽)
Any simple sweet milk bread dough can be used for the wrapper. I've tried a dough using tang zhang, which turned out fine but didn't seem worth the extra effort. Today I used one with a little more fat and included an egg. They turned out fantastic. My dough was basically:
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup of warm milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
a dash of salt (slightly more if using unsalted butter)
a bit of warm water, if necessary, to achieve the desired consistency. I added about 1 tablespoon.
Combine the ingredients in a mixer or mixing bowl and mix/knead well until the dough is well developed. I mixed mine in a mixer for about 10 minutes.
Shape into a ball, cover, and set aside until doubled in size. Mine took about an hour.
On a floured surface, divide the dough into smaller pieces. I divided it into 8 pieces today but you could divide them into 12 if you preferred smaller buns.
Shape each piece into a ball and them roll them out thin and flat.
Place a dollop of red bean paste in the center of each bun, then fold the dough up to wrap the red bean paste (more pictures of this process here). Flip the buns over.
You can stop there if you want round buns, but If you'd like to shape them like I did, use the cap from a small jar or container -- I think mine was from a tin of toothpicks -- and press a circle into the center of the bun. Then use a knife or dough cutter to slice slits into the dough.
Gently cover and allow the buns to rise for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, start preheating the oven to 350 degrees and egg wash the buns. Sprinkle with sesame seeds or black sesame seeds, if you have them.
After 30 to 45 minutes the buns should look a bit puffy and have risen some. Bake them on a cookie sheet for approximately 20 minutes. Be careful about not over baking and burning the bottoms of the buns.