Thursday, January 2, 2014

char siew bread buns

I am so grateful that since I started blogging about 6 months ago, I have made so many foodie-friends. It's fantastic because I have learnt so much from them - from new (and really good) recipes to cooking or baking techniques.

After I posted my first baking bread baking experience, my friend, Sharron messaged me and asked me to try her Tangzhong (汤种) bread recipe. When using this method to make bread, we simply add a pasty roux to a bread recipe so as to achieve bread with a softer texture.

I have been meaning to try this recipe for a while, and on my last trip to the wet market, I bought char siew so I could finally make char siew buns.

This tangzhong is very different from the last one I made. It is easier (only 2 ingredients) and it is a lot wetter.

I simply added water to bread flour and cook it over a low fire until streaks formed. Then I transfer the tangzhong to a dish, covered it with cling film and set it aside to cool.

The great thing about tangzhong is that it can be kept in the fridge to be used when you want to bake the bread. You just need to wait for it to come back to room temperature before you use it.

In the bowl of a mixer, I measured and added the rest of the ingredients, except the butter.

Using the bread hook attachment, I kneaded the dough.

Once the dough had come together, I added butter, and continued kneading.

I like to finish kneading the dough by hand so I can feel it. Then it was set aside to proof until it had doubled in size.

In the meantime, I made the filling. In a saucepan, I combined all the ingredients except the shallots and char siew.

This was stirred over a low fire until a thick mixture was formed.

I added shallots and char siew and mixed.

This was set aside.

The dough was divided into balls weighing 60g each (if you prefer bigger buns), or 45g each (for smaller buns). I flattened them and shaped them into circles. Into each piece of dough, I added 2-3 teaspoons of filling, and pinched to seal the edges.

The balls were placed in muffin tins and covered with a piece of damp cloth for another hour.

Then I egg-washed them and baked them.

There you go.

I would never buy another char siew bun from the shops again.

Char Siew Bread Buns (Makes 9 big buns, or 12 small buns)
Loosely adapted from recipe by Sharron Wee from Culinary Kitchenette

For the tangzhong:
25g bread flour
125ml water

For the bread dough:
1/2 beaten egg
35g condensed milk
83g tangzhong
60ml water
200g bread flour
50g cake flour
50g castor sugar
7g yeast
5g salt
20g unsalted butter

For the char siew filling:
350g char siew, diced into very small pieces
5 shallots, sliced thinly and fried
120ml water
1.5 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark sauce
2 tablespoon fine sugar
3 tablespoon the char siew sauce that you will receive from the roast meat stall
1.5 tablespoon corn flour
1.5 tablespoon plain flour

For the tangzhong:
1. Mix the flour and water in a saucepan over low fire, stirring constantly.
2. Once mixture has thickened and lines start to form, remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside to cool.
*Only use the tangzhong when it has reached room temperature.

For the bread dough:
1. Place all the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Knead either using the bread hook attachment or by hand.
2. Once dough has come together, add butter and continue kneading until dough is elastic.
3. Place in bowl that had been greased with oil, roll the dough so it is covered with oil, cover the bowl with a piece of damp cloth and let it proof until it has doubled in size.
4. Divide dough into balls, either 45g or 60g each.
5. Flatten dough, place 2-3 teaspoons of filling into middle of dough, then pinch to seal edges.
6. Place in muffin tins, cover with damp cloth and allow to rise for another hour.
7. Brush buns with egg wash. Bake at 160-170C for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden-brown.
8. Allow to cool in pan for about 10 minutes before transferring onto wire rack to coll completely.

For the char siew filling:
1. Place all ingredients except char siew and shallots in a saucepan. Place saucepan over low heat and stir until there are no lumps in the mixture, and the mixture has thickened.
2. Add char siew and shallots. Stir to combine.
3. Set aside to cool before using.

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