This is my go-to milk bun recipe because it’s made in only a few hours and it’s super easy.
It’s actually the same recipe I used for my hamburger buns but instead of rolled into individual buns, this one is baked together in one massive loaf of buttery, fresh-baked comfort.
Next-Level Baking Technique – Enter, the Tangzhong
What makes this recipe special is the use of a Japanese tangzhong starter.
Tangzhong is similar to a roux except instead of butter, it is made with milk and a little water .
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 with daily feeding, this “starter” is ready in minutes.
Easy Pull Apart Milk Buns
- 3 tbsp water 43g
- 3 tbsp whole milk 43g
- 2 tbsp bread flour 14g
- 400 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 tangzhong 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 briefly.
- Put the rest of the ingredients together with the cooled tangzhong in a bowl 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 an hour or so, the dough should have almost doubled in size. Lightly press the air out and begin shaping into 8 smaller balls.
- 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 175°C/350°F. 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 88°C/190°F.
- 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.