Making buns can be quite a chore, what with all that kneading of the dough and waiting for dough to rise. The whole process can take a few hours. So I've been experimenting on how to simplify and shorten the process. Below is my basic bun recipe.
Makes 16 medium-sized buns or 32 small buns
You can fill these buns with any of the following: red bean paste, kaya (coconut egg jam), baking chocolate chips, raisins, etc.
120ml warm water, heated to 45°C (see recipe notes below)
1 tsp dried instant yeast
2 tsp sugar
60g unsalted butter
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
550g plain flour (all-purpose flour) plus extra for dusting.
Glaze: 1 egg, beaten
1. Mix Part A and leave in a closed oven for 10 minutes till frothy.
Mix and heat Part B on the stove or in a microwave oven till butter melts. Set aside to cool till lukewarm.
2. Sift flour. Mix Parts A, B and C. Stir well and add to flour. Use an electric mixer and dough hooks to knead the mixture for 10 minutes. Cover dough and leave in a closed oven for 45 minutes till double its size.
3. Grease 2 baking tins with butter or cooking oil. Alternatively, use a large shallow baking tray if you want to make small buns.
4. Knead dough again for 10 minutes using the mixer. Remove dough from the mixing bowl and dust generously with flour till it is not sticky. Use a scraper or knife to cut dough into halves, then quarters, and so on, till you get 16 parts or 32 parts (depending on what size of buns you want to make).
5. Place filling in a piece of dough and wrap. Arrange in the baking tin or on the baking tray. Leave to rise in a closed (unheated) oven for 45 minutes.
6. Preheat oven to 200°C. Brush tops of buns with beaten egg. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes till brown.
These buns taste really good when hot (straight out from the oven). Soft and yummy!
• To heat water to 45°C, use the microwave oven (or the stove) and measure the temperature of the water with a food thermometer. Or test with your finger. The water should feel very warm but not too hot. Note that very hot water will kill the yeast while cool water will not activate it. (Water at 45°C is ideal.)
• If the yeast mixture does not froth after 15 minutes, discard and try again. The water used may have been too hot or too cool. If the mixture does not froth after repeated tries, buy new yeast. The yeast may have lost its effectiveness if left unused for too long.
• The yeast mixture should be allowed to stand for a maximum of 15 minutes. The dough should also not be left to rise for too long or the buns will end up with a nasty ‘yeasty’ smell!
These buns taste best on the day it is baked. To restore their soft texture the next day, reheat them in a toaster, microwave or oven.