Based on Japanese Milk Bread, these buns are prepared using the tangzhong method. A mixture of flour, water and milk is pre-cooked into a thick paste, then added to the dough. This method cooks the starches in the flour, which allows for greater absorption of liquid, resulting in an ultra tender bun. Top the warm buns with a thick glaze of honey butter and sesame seeds.
- ½ cup Whole Milk at 38°C (120 g)
- 1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast (10 g)
- 2 Tbsp Honey (40 g)
- 2 ¼ cups Artisan Bread Flour (325 g)
- 1 Egg (50 g)
- 1 Egg Yolk (20 g)
- 1 tsp Kosher Salt
- 4 Tbsp unsalted Butter, room temperature (56 g)
- To make the tangzhong, combine flour, water and milk in a small saucepan. Whisk for 2-3 minutes over medium heat until a thick paste forms. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk warm milk, yeast and honey together and let bloom for 10 minutes while tangzhong cools.
- To the bloomed yeast mixture, add the cooled tangzhong, flour, egg and egg yolk. Affix the dough hook attachment and mix on low for 2-3 minutes until very little dry flour is visible. Let dough relax in the mixer for about 10 minutes.
- With the mixer running on low, add salt and butter, one tablespoon at a time, waiting until the butter mostly disappears before adding in the next tablespoon. Increase speed to medium and knead for an additional 5 minutes.
- Scrape dough out onto an un-floured surface and shape into a ball. Dough should be bouncy and slightly tacky.
- Lightly oil the mixing bowl and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and proof for 1 hour in a warm place.
- Prepare a 9 x 9-inch square baking pan with baking spray and parchment paper.
- Punch down dough and divide into nine equal portions. Dough should be bouncy and smooth to the touch but not sticking to your hands.
- Pinch the corners of the dough together to form a round shape. Cup your hand around the dough and roll the dough in circles on your work surface, seam side down, to form a moderately tight bun. Repeat with remaining pieces of dough.
- Arrange the buns in the pan. Cover and let proof in a warm place for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Once the buns are proofed, bake for 28-30 minutes, or until a deep, golden brown.
- Whisk together the melted butter and honey, and generously brush it onto the warm buns. Garnish with sesame seeds and flaky salt. Let cool before serving.