Cinnamon Buns, left and Black Sesame Ring Bun 黑芝麻麵包圈, right.
After my last try with the scalded-flour & sponge version of the sweet bun dough, I’m playing with the same recipe again. This time discarding the sponge dough totally and just doing it straight with just the slightest adjustment.
Last time, I did find it quite tedious to mix the lump of scalded flour dough into the main dough. The scalded flour dough just refused to break down easily and mixed smoothly into the main dough ingredients and it took quite a lot of kneading before I could not feel any lumps from the scalded flour dough. After thinking about it, I decided to adjust it slightly by adding a little room-temperature water to make it pasty so there are no dry lumps when mixing it into the main dough later on. This is quite similar to the Chinese Warm-Water Dough Method where you add cold water after scalding the flour with boiling water to make the dough. And yay, it worked and the scalded flour paste mixed into the main dough without any trouble!
Lastly a small footnote which demonstrates how important it is to adjust water content when making breads or buns. Last time I mentioned I needed to add an extra 10ml of boiling water to scald the flour. That was in a mid-winter cold day, and I was sure it was not a humid day. This time, I was able to scald the flour with just 70ml water which was the amount recommended from the original recipe (recipe written by a Malaysian author in a hot and humid country!), and the day that I made the dough was humid (had been raining constantly the past few days) and hot with temperature about 30°C outside.
Makes approx. 16 buns
100g bread flour
70ml boiling water
30ml room-temperature water
300g bread flour
100g plain flour
80g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
20g milk powder
7g (2 1/2 teaspoons) instant yeast
150ml (approx.) lukewarm water, adjust as necessary
60g butter, chopped into small pieces
Pour boiling hot water all at once over the flour and stir quickly with a pair of chopsticks (or fork) until combined with no more visible dry flour. It should be a doughy clumpy mixture at this stage (pic #1). (Here I did knead it into a dough first at this stage (pic #2) as I was experimenting, but I think you can skip forming it into a dough as it will be harder to mix in the room-temperature water.) Rest 5 minutes for the dough clusters to fully absorb the heat and the moisture. Then slowly add the room-temperature water and mix into a pasty dough (pic #3); just stir together with the chopsticks. This pasty dough will make it easier to mix into the main dough later on. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
For the Main Dough:
1. Combine all ingredients except lukewarm water and butter in a mixing bowl. Add the scalded flour paste, then gradually add just enough lukewarm water to mix into a dough. Transfer to kitchen bench and knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. For more detailed description on the kneading process, see the post on Japanese-Style Sweet Bun Dough.
2. Finally knead in the butter until incorporated. Form the dough into a round ball and let it rise until doubled in size in a large greased bowl, covered with cling film (should take about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months).
3. Punch down, knead briefly and form into a ball shape. Then divide into 16 equal portions. Form each into small balls and let them rest for 10 minutes.
4. Shape and fill the buns according to recipe. Place all finished buns on a greased baking sheet, lightly cover with cling film, and let rise until puffy and doubled in size (about 1 hour in warm weather, longer in winter months). Eggwash if necessary according to recipe just before baking.
5. Bake in preheated 190°C oven for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
Taste: Soft, fluffy and light in texture
Consume: Equally good served warm or at room temperature
Storage: Can be kept in airtight container for a couple of days at room temperature in cool weather or up to a week in the refrigerator, re-heat in the oven or microwave before serving
Recipe Reference(s): Basic Sweet Bread Dough recipe by Alex Goh, with thanks to coolcookie for sharing the recipe