It has been some time since I last baked bread and buns. After I discovered and tried out the Hot Water Roux method, I always wonder if I can also make pillowy soft buns without using it.
I have another bread & bun recipe book that supposedly tells on how the Japanese bakeries make their bread. Until they have an English title, I am not sure what is the title.
Unlike the water roux method bread, this recipe used more liquid and yeast to leaven the dough. And it took more time to let the dough rest and rise.
The making of the dough is an easy combination of bread flour, yeast, milk powder, salt together with water, egg, vegetable oil and butter. Perhaps my jar of yeast has been in the fridge too long, I didn't see much rising and doubling in the volume of the dough during the resting period. After I shaped them and inserted the custard, I turned on the oven to the lowest heat temperature available, which was 200F and let the shaped buns rise in the warm oven for a further 50 mins. They expanded quickly and the dough felt more lighter and puffed up.
I made the custard filling the night before I made the bread dough. Perhaps there was no custard powder called for, my custard seems to be more liquid than gooey as those sold in stores. The custard was a mixture of milk, egg and extra egg yolks with cornstarch and flour added together with vanilla flavoring and sugar. The milk was first heated slightly and both flour stirred in till dissolved. The eggs and sugar were beaten at high speed in the mixer and the warm milk mixture was then added. After 2 mins beating, the mixture was then returned to the heat and butter and vanilla were added. The cooking process took some time as I used slow heat to avoid over cooking and burning the custard. The custard thickened but not to the firm stage that I expected. It was then refrigerated till slightly firm, similar to jam consistency.
The bread dough was first divided into portions of 50gm each, which looked small initially but felt heavy. They were then rested for another 1 hour before the custard was spooned into each one. As the filling was a bit soft, I used the dumpling method by spooning and spreading the custard in the middle of the rolled out dough and gathered and pinched to seal up the dough. They were then turn upside down, with the smooth part facing up and with both hands, I shaped the buns further in an anti-clockwise motion and gently flatten the top . The recipe yield a total of 12 buns and I let them rest and rise further for 50 mins before egg washing and baking them at a preheated oven of 400F for 15 mins. Some of the custard inside the buns actually oozed out during the baking but didn't affect the quality of the buns at all. They must be cooled completely on the cookie rack as eating them straight out of the oven was not an option with the kids as the filling is piping hot and the bun itself needs time to firm up a little at room temperature.
The texture of the bun turned out very soft and to tell the truth, I think more lighter than the ones I made with the hot water roux method. At first I thought the requirement of one tablespoon of yeast was too much but I guess that it served to make the bread dough rises more and produces a lighter texture. One thing that I don't really like about the recipe book is that all its ingredients are listed in the weight form and I had to measure all my liquid on the scale instead of using the cups or baking spoons. But that is how serious bakers and pastry chefs do it and I just had to do the extra work of measuring with everything and converting the numbers to the cups and spoons equivalent. Imagine me measuring 18 gm of yeast.... how much is that when my own scale starts from 25gm ! So I still think the 1 tbsp of yeast was too much!