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Pork Floss Buns on grill rack with flowers in background

Tangzhong Pork Floss Bun

Topped with Singapore's favourite egg cream coating and pork floss, these cottony soft sweet milk buns are made using the tangzhong method - an old Japanese bakery secret used to make ultra soft Asian breads!

Course Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine Chinese, Japanese
Keyword Pork Floss Bun, Asian Bun, Sweet Bun, Asian bread
Prep Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 202 kcal
Author Melissa | The Undercover Chef

Ingredients

Tangzhong Dough

  • 25 g Strong Bread Flour 12.5 per cent protein
  • 125 ml Water

Sweet Bun Dough - Autolyse

  • 250 g Strong Bread Flour 12.5 per cent protein
  • 50-75 ml Water Adjust the water according to the humidity level that day (use less water if it is a rainy day)

Ingredients to be Added Later

  • 8 g Milk Powder
  • 1/2 Egg 25g
  • 8 g Condensed Milk
  • 4.5 g Instant Yeast
  • 4.5 g Bread Improver
  • 3.5 g Salt
  • 50 g Sugar
  • 45 g Unsalted Butter

Instructions

A. Tangzhong Roux

  1. Add 25g of bread flour and 125ml in a small pot. Whisk together until it forms a smooth solution (no lumps).

  2. Place the pot over the stove to cook over low heat, stirring constantly. The mixture should start to thicken. The roux is ready when you are able to see the bottom of the pot as you stir the mixture. Transfer the roux to a bowl to cool. Meanwhile, measure out the rest of the ingredients.

B. Autolyse

  1. In the bread pan, add 250g of bread flour and cooled roux. Then pour the water around the flour like a moat. This allows for better mixing of the ingredients.

  2. Set the bread machine to Menu 9 (Bread Dough) and press start. The bread machine should commence gentle mixing. After 5-7 minutes when the ingredients just start to come together, stop the machine and let stand for 20 minutes.

Kneading and 1st Proofing

  1. After 20 minutes, open the lid and add in the salt, sugar, milk powder, egg, condensed milk, butter and bread improver into the bread pan. 

  2. Close the lid and add in the yeast into the yeast dispenser. Set the bread machine to Menu 9 again and press start. When the machine makes a clicking sound, the yeast is being dispensed (about 10 minutes into the kneading process). 

  3. The bread machine should continue to knead the dough for another 5 minutes, before it moves on to the 45 minutes proofing stage. By the end of the proofing time, the dough should be double the size. If the dough is not doubled in size, cover the machine and allow to rise for another 10-15 minutes.

Shaping and 2nd Proofing

  1. Oil your hands lightly, then push down the dough by using your fist to press gently but firmly down in the middle of the dough. This helps to release trapped air. Next, place the dough on a lightly oiled surface. Use a dough cutter to cut the dough into 8 equal pieces (68-74g each) using a weighing scale. 

  2. Before shaping, it is good to let the dough rest for 10 minute (optional). The rest period relaxes the gluten and makes the buns easier to shape. Otherwise they may spring back when you are trying to roll them out. While resting, cover the dough with a damp towel to prevent a crust from forming on the surface. 

  3. For a more uniform layered crumb, follow this shaping technique. Use a rolling pin to lightly flatten the dough to get rid of large bubbles, then roll it up. Repeat this step, then shape it into a ball. To get a smooth surface, you can either 1) stretch the skin of the bun and fold them together under the bun or 2) drag them along the surface with your hand to tighten the skin and tuck in any 'wrinkles.

  4. Place the buns on a tray lined with baking paper about 2.5-3 inches apart. You may need to do 2 trays like what we did.

  5. Place the tray(s) in a small enclosed area with 2 large bowls of hot water for the 2nd proof. This should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the buns double in size. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 180 degrees celsius. 

  6. Once the dough has doubled in size,  brush the buns gently with egg wash if you want a shiny brown colour (optional). Bake the buns on the lowest rack at 180 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Keep an eye on it. If the bun browns too quickly, cover the browned parts with aluminium foil so it does not turn too brown. 

  7. Remove the buns and place on a wire rack to cool.

Toppings

  1. Prepare the egg cream by mixing condensed milk and mayonnaise.

  2. Once the buns are cool, slice them open (but not until the end) and butter them with the egg cream. Then coat the top of the buns with a thick coating of egg cream.

  3. Fluff the pork floss, then coat the buns with the pork floss and serve immediately.

Recipe Video


Top Tips

  1. Make sure you use a electronic weighing scale to measure all the ingredients for accuracy.
  2. Ensure that the roux is cooled to room temperature before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, otherwise the heat will affect the chemistry of the dough.
  3. Make sure that the salt does not come into direct contact with the yeast, otherwise it will kill the yeast. To do this, make sure you add the yeast and bread improver into the dough first, as it is being kneaded by the bread machine. This will give the yeast a 'protective coating' before the salt is added.
  4. Butter / oil inhibits the formation of gluten strands, so it is best to add butter only after the gluten development during the kneading phase.
  5. The dough is sensitive to the weather. On rainy and humid days, the dough may end up too wet by the end of the kneading stage. If so, you can incorporate a little more flour into the dough and knead for another 5 minutes or so to get to a similar texture to what you see in the video.
  6. Make sure that the dough rises to double the original volume. It could take 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the weather and room temperature.
  7. Don't overproof the dough! If the dough is left for too long, it will continue to rise to more than 2.5 times the original volume, and could even collapse. Once the dough is overproofed, the bread will not rise as well for the 2nd proof, and will be dense and taste very yeasty / fermented. 
  8. Breadmaking requires a good stretch of time (2.5-3 hours) to do, so do set aside the time to do it. Once you add the yeast, essentially the clock starts ticking, so make sure you have set aside enough time to complete the whole process. The alternative is to allow the dough to rise in the fridge overnight (around 12 hours) as it rises much slower in a chilled environment. Simply cover the dough with clingwrap and place in the fridge. The next morning, bring out the dough and allow to come to room temperature before shaping.
  9. During shaping, use a little bit of oil on your hands and the surface to prevent the dough from sticking. You can also use flour but dust lightly as using too much flour will alter the flour to water ratio in the dough.
  10. To divide the dough into 8 equal parts, use a pastry cutter. Do not tear the dough as it will destroy the gluten strands and weaken the dough.
  11. For pull apart buns, you can place the dough about 1 inch apart. But for standalone buns, you need to place the dough about 2.5-3 inches apart as the dough will double in volume after proofing.
  12. The eggwash will give the buns a glossy surface. You can also use eggwash using only egg-whites (glossy and less brown) and milk (matt and brown). If you prefer to skip this step, it is also fine. The buns will turn out matt and light brown.
  13. To prevent the buns from browning too quickly, place on the lower rack  monitor the buns. If the buns are browning too quickly, place a sheet of aluminium foil over the buns and continue to bake. For more even baking, rotate the tray every 5 minutes.
  14. One the buns are done, remove them from the oven to cool for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to that bottom of the buns don't become damp from the condensation.
  15. Bread is usually damp inside when it just comes over the oven, so allow to cool for a few hours to allow the inside of the buns to dry up naturally. Unless of course you prefer freshly baked, albeit slightly damp, buns! Then by all means, help yourself!