These soft milk buns are fantastic for summer barbecues, for burgers, chicken schnitzel or chargrilled vegetable sandwiches, or simply filled with homemade pickles and cheese.
This is the first time I have baked using a tangzhong, which is popularly used in a number of Asian bread recipes, and relies upon a Japanese technique for cooking a type of roux paste of flour and water together over a heat until it thickens. It allows a higher hydration dough for this type of bun than you might otherwise use, creates a very soft crumb, and can also contribute to keeping the buns softer for longer. This is an enriched dough with melted butter and beaten egg as well as the milk, and sweetened slightly with caster sugar.
The first time I made these they turned out slightly dense, and it transpired I had fallen foul of out-of-date yeast! It sounds obvious but to ensure a light and fluffy bun, do make sure your yeast is in date, and really give the ingredients a good mixing if you’re doing it by hand to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Makes approximately 6-8 buns
(These make a good size burger bun, but for medium size buns adapt the recipe to 80-90g chunks of dough instead when you divide it, which makes roughly 10 buns.)
In a small saucepan over a medium heat, sift in the 30g flour for the tangzhong and add the 90g milk. Beat with a wooden spoon until it makes a type of thick paste, ensuring there are no lumps. Remove it into a container and wait for it to cool.
Mix the yeast into the milk and add to the 470g of bread flour, then add the tangzhong paste and combine. Add the rest of the ingredients for the dough (apart from the semolina dusting flour) and knead to thoroughly mix the ingredients evenly throughout the dough. You will have a thick, enriched dough that is quite firm.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and leave it to rest for 1-1.5 hours, until it has expanded in size and has begun to feel more pillowy.
Flour two baking trays with semolina. Divide the dough into lumps of 115g and shape them into balls. Space them at least eight centimetres apart on the trays, to allow them room to rise. Cover and leave to prove for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Combine the egg yolks and cream for the glaze. Glaze the buns with the mixture using a pastry brush, and sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds.
Place your buns in the oven and bake for 14-17 minutes, until golden and baked through. Leave to cool on a wire rack.