There is nothing better than freshly baked bread at home and this recipe for pull apart milk buns is so good you will want to make it all the time. This bread is great because it’s quick to make, consistent, incredibly delicious and no-fail.
That Fresh Baked Bread Smell
The house always smells amazing when I make these at home! Next time you visit friends or family for dinner bring a batch of this bread and you’ll be invited over a lot more!
What the heck is tangzhong?
What makes this recipe special is the use of a tangzhong starter. Tangzhong is similar to a roux except with milk, water and a little flour instead of butter and flour. It is then cooked just like a roux until thickened and added to the dough. This process helps to keep the buns soft longer and makes it extra tasty.
Unlike a sourdough starter which can take months to prepare and daily feeding, this “starter” takes only 3 minutes to make. Don’t be scared of the tangzhong, it’s really easy.
Making Milk Bun Burgers?
These make amazing burger buns. I would recommend rolling into 6 balls instead of 8 for if you plan to make the buns. Baking will be the same but bake for 12 minutes instead.
Milk Bun Egg Sandwich?
Yes, same as the above instructions for burger buns.
Vegan Milk Bun Recipe
I’ve also experimented with a vegan alternative to this with oat-milk and sunflower oil that was very tasty although not as good as the original. The vegan version will look like this:
3 tbsp (43g) water
3 tbsp (43g) oat milk
2 tbsp(14g) bread Flour
300g bread flour
60g sunflower oil
1 tsp salt
1tbsp instant yeast
I found the original Japanese Milk Bun recipe on King Arthur Flour but have modified a few things to make it my own. (I don’t like using milk powder and would rather use all-purpose flour vs. bread flour). Although, I highly recommend this site for baking recipes!
- Brush for the eggwash
- Baking trays
- Parchment paper
- 3 tbsp water 43g
- 3 tbsp whole milk 43g
- 2 tbsp bread flour 14g
- 380 g bread flour 2 ¾ cups
- 50 g sugar 1/4 cup
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp dried yeast
- 113 g whole milk 1/2 cup
- 1 large egg
- 60 g butter melted and cooled (1/4 cup)
- Mix all of the ingredients from the tangzhang into a small saucepan and heat gently. Whisk for about 3 minutes until there are no more lumps and the whisk leaves lines on the bottom of the pan. Let this cool.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients together with the cooled tangzhang and knead until a smooth elastic dough is formed. If the dough is too sticky add a bit of flour until it is smooth.
- Roll into a giant ball and place in a lightly floured bowl. Lightly dust the top with flour and cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap. Rest for about one hour.
- After about an hour the dough should have expanded slightly but not doubled. Lightly press the air out and begin shaping into 8 smaller balls. (Sorry for the shaky table in the video!)
- Attach them together on a parchment lined baking tray and lightly dust with flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 40-50 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. Lightly brush the dough with an egg wash (1 egg with a splash of cold water mixed in). Bake for about 23-35 minutes or until nicely golden on top and a thermometer reaches 87C/190F.
- Transfer to a resting rack and let cool for ten minutes. These buns are amazing hot out of the oven with a little butter and crunchy sea salt. They also makes an incredible egg sandwich the next day with a little fried egg.