Japanese milk bread buns (tangzhong method)
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2 hours and 45 minutes
- 24 grams all-purpose flour
- 120 grams water (or 138 grams milk)
- all the tangzhong
- 216 grams all-purpose flour
- 75 grams lukewarm water
- 26 grams potato flour (2 tablespoons) or 26 grams of instant potato flakes (about 4 tablespoons)
- 16 grams honey (1 tablespoon)
- 9 grams salt (1 1/2 teaspoon)
- 7 grams instant yeast (1 teaspoon)
- 36 grams room temperature butter (3 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon butter melted (optional) - used after buns are baked
First you need to make the tangzhong. In a small saucepan over medium low heat, add the flour and water from the Tangzhong section. Slowly cook, stirring frequently with a spoon until you get a paste that looks like mashed potatoes.
Remove pan and tangzhong from the heat and allow to cool.
In your mixing bowl, add all other ingredients and by the time everything has been weighed and added to the mixing bowl, your tangzhong should have cooled enough to use it. Add the tangzhong as the last ingredient into the bowl.
Mix with your electric mixer's dough hook for 8 minutes. If you are mixing/kneading by hand, you will need to knead for at least 15 minutes. Whichever method you choose, your goal is to knead until you are left with a nice soft and smooth dough.
Add dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rest in a warm spot for an hour.
After an hour, the dough should have doubled and become full of gas and bubbles. Deflate the dough and separate it into six equal pieces. You can use a scale at this point for more consistent shaped buns.
Form each dough portion into a ball. At this point, I like to flatten the dough with a flat hard surface to ensure that my final buns do not turn into spheres.
Place each shaped dough ball on a parchment lined sheet pan, cover the pan with another upside-down pan or plastic wrap and allow the buns to rise for another hour in a warm place.
Near the end of the hour of rise time, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees F (177 C).
Bake the buns for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the sheet pan halfway through the bake time. I typically bake for 7 minutes and then rotate and come back in another 7 minutes to see what my level of brownness looks like. At that point your buns should be done all the way through, you're just trying to get them to the color you prefer.
Remove buns from oven and brush with 1 tablespoon of melted butter for a glossy sheen (optional).