Baked Asian Red Bean Buns

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Golden brown, fluffy buns filled with delicious red bean paste… a real treat! These buns would be great with any fillings: lotus seed paste, taro paste, black sesame paste, nutella, chocolate, peanut paste, you name it. We love these special buns as a sweet and delectable breakfast. Yum.

This bread is a treat you can find in Chinese stores and bakeries. But, a lot of people do not live near a Chinese bakery, so this is a great recipe for eating this bread at home.

This bun dough can be used for other purposes as well. Try making some sweet rolls, a yummy loaf, or maybe a filled bread. This dough uses the tanzhong or water-roux method, which makes them extra soft and fluffy. This method can be used in any bread recipe to make wonderfully soft and tender bread.

I found this recipe at Corner Café.

Oven Temperature: 375˚F

Baking Time: 8-12 minutes

Makes: 20 medium sized buns

Ingredients:

375g bread flour

100g all purpose flour

35g milk powder

75g white sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

7g or 2 1/2 tsp instant dry yeast

1 egg, lightly beaten

Water-Roux Paste (湯種):

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

150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary

40g softened unsalted butter, cubed

500g or one package of red bean paste

egg wash (one egg whisked with a tablespoon of water or milk)

some white sesame seeds for the tops

Directions:

First, prepare the water-roux paste. To do that, combine the flour and water in a small saucepan over low to medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens to a paste. If you stir the paste, you should be able to see the bottom of the pan. Once cooked to a thick paste, take the water-roux off the heat and cover with plastic wrap. Set it on the counter or in the fridge until cooled to room temperature.

Now, for the bun dough. Combine the bread flour, all purpose flour, milk powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk thoroughly. Then, mix the yeast in well. Make a well in the flour. Then, add in the beaten egg and cooled water-roux, and mix. Gradually pour in the lukewarm water while mixing. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Then, knead the dough until smooth and elastic.

*NOTE: If you have a Kitchenaid mixer or other mixer with a dough hook, then use this for this recipe. Just start out in the mixer and use the dough hook to knead the dough until smooth (this is much easier!)

After the dough is smooth and elastic, gradually mix in the softened, cubed butter. Keep kneading until the dough passes the membrane test. This means the dough, when stretched, will create a thin membrane that can be seen through without breaking. If kneading by hand, this can be difficult, so get as close as you can.

Then, shape the dough into a ball and rise in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap. I like to place the dough into a turned-off oven after preheating to 100˚F. Rise until doubled in size (about one hour). Proof the dough until when you poke a floured finger as far into it as you can, it does not fill the hole back up or feel springy.

Then, punch the dough down and then portion into 20 pieces or so. Shape each piece into a ball. Let the dough balls rest for 10 minutes. Then flatten and fill with a spoonful of red bean paste. Gather the edges around the red bean paste and seal with a few twists. Flour the bottoms and place on a greased baking sheet (or a silicone baking mat!) covered with plastic wrap in a warm spot to rise a second time. The buns should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Brush the buns with some egg wash, and then go back and brush a second time. Sprinkle some white sesame seeds on top. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!

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