Homesick Buns? Yes, I am homesick of Sarawak Style Butter Buns..

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UPDATED POST ON 11-10-2014

Craving for the buns that I can get hold in Singapore, and I have decided to prepare these buns to surprise my wife. We usually bought back from Sarawak if we visited our home town. There is no change in the recipe but I have decided to use the BASIC BREAD DOUGH RECIPE instead of the tangzhong dough recipe here.  Please refer here for the BASIC BREAD DOUGH RECIPE. I find that the basic dough is much faster without compromise quality of the buns.

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INTRODUCTION

This is a rather simple basic bun of which I am yet to trace the history. The uniqueness of this bun is its filling. The filling is made of butter, sugar and flour. Throughout my years overseas, I have yet to find buns that have this filling. The nearest that I have came across is butter milk buns where milk powder is used used instead of pure butter.

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I came from Sarawak, Malaysia. Sarawak is located in the island of Borneo. Since young, I have been eating these buns for breakfasts and snacks.

I missed the buns. The fillings are aromatic. It is sweet and buttery in flavour. When I made the first batch 2 days ago, I posted my pictures in the Google plus certain baking communities and my Facebook timeline, I was surprised that there are a number of readers and my friends are requesting for the recipe. What shocked me is that most of them in Google plus communities have never seen or eaten the buns before. Apparently, they are either curious about the fillings based on my descriptions.

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As for the first batch, I did not take any measurements, I have decided to do the second batch so as to share the recipe with the readers.

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SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

Sarawak style butter buns shall not be confused with the butter soft buns that are mentioned in other recipe books. The so called butter buns in recipe books are mostly refer to buns with no filling. It shall also not to be confused with the Hong Kong cocktail buns where the fillings are shredded coconuts and butters. In addition, they are also different from the so called “butter buns” whereby a butter cube is wrapped by the dough and when baked, the butter melts into the bread. Since there are possibilities of misunderstanding, I shall call these special buns as “Sarawak Style Butter Buns”.

Butter Buns – Normal buttery buns with no filling. (pic courtesy:  http://en.christinesrecipes.com)

Hong Kong Cocktail Buns – Fillings are shredded coconut and butter http://cornercafe.wordpress.com

Buttery Buns – Butter in the centre of the bun and melted when baked. This is also the type of buns commonly found in the famous Malaysian chain store called “Rotiboy” .http://thenewartofbaking.blogspot.sg

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Sarawak Style Butter Buns – Butter fillings. Found in Sarawak only.

   


THE PROCESS OF MAKING SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

This illustration will use the Tangzhong method of bread making and it involved 5 stages in the following orders:

Part 1 – Making the Tanzhong (Water Roux) ..– Best to prepare the night before

Part 2 – Preparing the Dough for the 1st Proofing

Part 3 – Preparing the Butter Fillings

Part 4 – Preparing the Dough – Wrapping the Fillings and 2nd Proofing

Part 5 – The Baking Process

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TANZHONG METHOD OF BREAD MAKING

Tangzhong (汤种)is a relatively new method of bread making and the main advantages of it is because bread made using tangzhong were usually soft and fluffy and  able to keep longer. Previously, bread improver were used to make the bread softer for a longer period of time. However, this method have used all natural ingredients without any chemicals  to get the same effect.

According to Cookipedia:

“Tang zhong (also known as a ‘water roux‘) is a method used in bread making to create soft and fluffy bread which was originated by the Japanese. However, it was popularised throughout south-east Asia in the 1990s by a Chinese woman called Yvonne Chen who wrote a book called The 65° Bread Doctor. Using this method also allows bread to stay fresh for longer without needing to use artificial preservatives.

To make the tang zhong, you mix together one part flour with five parts liquid (by weight) to make a smooth paste. This is usually water, but can be milk or a mixture of both. The mixture is then heated in a saucepan until it reaches exactly 65°C (149°F), removed from the hob, covered and left to cool until it is down to room temperature, when it will be ready to use. It would be useful have a digital thermometer with a probe when making this as other types of thermometer tend to be too large. If you are not making your bread immediately, the tang zhong will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, but will need to be brought up to room temperature before use. The tang zhong is added to the main flour with the liquid and mixed in and kneaded as normal.

The amount of tang zhong used should be about 35% of the weight of the main flour. It is best to make a little extra, because the liquid will evaporate slightly during heating. To make a loaf weighing about 1kg, I would suggest using 480g flour, 200g liquid and 170g tang zhong (made with 30g flour and 150g liquid), which will give a hydration of about 68%. You can of course adjust the amount of liquid either side of the 200g, but the tang zhong proportions should not be adjusted. “

(http://www.cookipedia.co.uk/recipes_wiki/Tang_zhong)

You will note that my recipe for Tang zhong (that are detailed below) are different from what is mentioned above. You can either use my recipe or the recipe as mentioned above.

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PROCESS OF MAKING THE SARAWAK STYLE BUTTER BUNS

PART 1 – MAKING THE TANG ZHONG (WATER ROUX) …..

What is required

  • 50g bread flour
  • 50g boiling water (water should be boiling hot, otherwise you have to put it over the stove to cook it)

Steps of preparation

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  • Get ready the bread flour in a mixing bowl. Pour the boiling hot water into the flour, mixed well and shaped into a ball.
  • Let the ball cooled down at room temperature. Once cooled, covered bowl with a cling wrap and keep it in the fridge overnight.
  • This recipe will make about 90 g of tanzhong. If you cannot finish tanzhong, you can put it in a container and keep it in the fridge for future use.

Update:

The picture below is from my second batch whereby I have used the method specified in the Cookipedia above and is append here for your reference.

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What is required

  • 25 g of bread flour
  • 125 g of cold water

Steps of preparation

  • In a metal mixing bowl, mixed the water with the cold water. Stirred until well mixed.
  • Place the flour mixture under medium to low heat until the mixture boils.
  • Continue to stir until it resembles some types of glue or when the mixtures start to dissociate itself from the wall of the bowl. Cool and keep it in the refrigerator for the portion that was not used.

PART 2 – PREPARING THE DOUGH – 1st Proofing

What is required

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  • 180 g of bread flour (you can substitute 5 g of bread flour with milk powder, in that case you need only 175 g of bread flour)
  • 30 g of sugar
  • 4 g of instant dry yeast
  • Pinches of Salt
  • 35 g of beaten egg (the above picture is for illustration. 35 g of eggs is equivalent to about 1 egg)

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  • 55 ml of fresh milk
  • 20 g of butter – soften
  • 45 g of tangzhong, refer to recipe above (about half of the tangzhong made above)

 


Steps of preparation (dough)

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  • Mix all ingredients except softened butter and beat at slow speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the softened butter and continue kneading at medium high-speed for about 20-30 minutes or when the dough did not stick to the wall of your mixing bowl and do not break when you pull the dough.
  • In the flat surface dusted with normal or bread flour, take out the dough from the mixing bowl and slightly knead it using hand for 1-2 minutes and shape it into a ball.
  • lightly oil you mixing bowl and place the ball in the bowl. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap (to prevent moisture loss).

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  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s temperature.
  • If you are using a metal mixing bowl which are slightly cold when touched, put it in your oven at temperature of about 30 degree Celsius for about 10 minutes or when your bowl feel warm when touched.

 


PART 3 – PREPARING THE BUTTER FILLINGS

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What is required

  • 150 g of butter
  • 150 g of sugar
  • 180 g of flour

Steps of preparation

  • Melt the butter in the microwavable bowl (1 minute). Alternatively, you can also melt it over the smallest heat directly under the fire.
  • Add the sugar to the hot melted butter, stirred until dissolved.
  • Add in the sifted flour gradually and used a spoon to stir until well mixed.
  • Let the flour mixture cooled down and let it rest for at least 5-10 minutes (note that the flour need sometime to absorb the liquid and don’t worry if it is too watery. After 5 minutes, the flour will also expand and you can see a slight increase in volume.
  • Once cool, shaped it into 10 small balls of about 40 g each. Set aside for later use.

 


PART 4 – PREPARING THE DOUGH – Wrapping the fillings and 2nd Proofing

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  • Take the dough out, punch into the dough to let any trapped air escaped. Knead for one minute and divide into 10 equal size round ball.

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  • Wrap the dough around the butter filling ball as even as possible. Put it in a baking tray and cover with the same damp cloth.
  • Let it proof for another 30 minutes or when balls were almost double in size.

 


PART 5 – THE BAKING PROCESS

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  • Set the oven to temperature 190 degree Celsius.
  • Put  in the oven and bake at 10-15 minutes. After 10 minutes of baking, egg wash (please see below) the buns quickly and continue baking for about 5 minutes or when the top start to turn slightly golden brown. Alternatively, you can egg wash first before you send into the oven. I prefer to egg wash at the latter stage as I can control the colour better.
  • Egg wash – Crack one egg and mixed with 3 teaspoons of water and 2 drops of oil, slightly beat and sift into a small box, use the brush to brush on top of the surface. The purpose is to let the buns looks shinny and golden brown. 

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  • Take out from the oven and transfer to a rack for cooling.

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MODIFICATIONS AND VARIATIONS

  • For the butter fillings, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of milk powder to the flour. Personally, I do not prefer to have milk powder added since it will negate the butter aroma. However, commercially, they do add milk powder to this and in fact, my kids loved the fillings that have milk powder.
  • For the dough, you can add 1 teaspoon of milk powder as well. However, both this modification are not traditional methods of preparation.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This is a traditional bun that is very popular among the Sarawakians.  The history has yet to be traced. However, this bun is usually prepared by Hainanese “kopitiam” (coffee shops) and most of the good bakers are Hainanese. Hainanese are the descendants of immigrants from the Island of Hainan in People’s Republic of China. It is also a Chinese dialect group and they are very good chefs and pastry chiefs. This is because they arrived South East Asia later than other Chinese dialect groups (like Cantonese, Hokkien, Foochow) and they were employed as chefs in the then British families and well to do local and nonya families. They were trained by the British in baking and when the colonial era ceased, they started to set up coffee shops cater for the Chinese immigrants in from China. The consumption and usage of butter in pastry were mostly influenced by the British administration. Though unconfirmed, however , it appeared to be logical because Chinese traditional cooking did not use its butter in its delicacies.
  • The Sarawak Style butter buns have a nice buttery fragrance and taken a bit resembles taking a teaspoon of butter and sugar in the mouth….It is divine especially eaten with a cup of tea or coffee. It is ideal as a breakfast item or afternoon snacks.
  • The use of tanzhong in this recipe made the bread softer even after a day or two. This newly developed baking method is widely used by bakers in the Asian region and that is one of the reasons that sweet buns and soft buns were popular in Asian region. The texture will definitely different from the traditional method of bread baking.

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Hope you take a move in trying out this new recipe. For my readers who are in other countries and never tasted this bun, just take a bowl, add equal amounts of melted butter, sugar and flours, stirred and put in the microwave for 2 minutes. Have a small scoop of filling and tell me if this is your cup of teas.

Thanks for reading and have a nice day. Cheers. 

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 8 June 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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Microwaved Mug Cakes, Another Quick Alternative to Baked and Steamed Cakes…

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Updated Post on 16-10-2014

Last night, wife was asking what is for breakfast today? I told her I do not know and worst came to the worst, some biscuits.. Ha-ha. This morning, while I was cracking  my head what to prepare  muffins and scones that are fast and easy… It suddenly come across my mind to prepare some microwave butter cakes. It is very easy and moist and it took me about 15 minutes to prepare a 2 eggs cake- 10 minutes preparation and 5 minutes microwaving… I save my electricity, dishing, energy and time…

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The texture of microwave cake is always very moist and like the preparation of muffins, I gather the wet ingredients and dry ingredients, stir until well mixed and microwave…Happy trying.

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INTRODUCTION

This is another post in my simple pastry making series, a cup cake or mug, a cake baked in a cup. It is baked in a cup or a mug cake in the microwave oven. It is fast, utilizing about 5 minutes. No electrical beaters, just mix using your choice of utensils and you will be able to get a cake like above. Scale down all the ingredients, putting in a microwavable cup, you can even prepare one for your kids breakfast. This post will share with you a one man breakfast chocolate cake, a coffee log cake and a cheesy buttery log cake.


WHAT IS REQUIRED

Chocolate Cake
(1 man serving)
Coffee Log Cake
(6 inches log)
Cheesy Butter Cake
(6 inches log)
Container 1 microwavable cup of about 250 ml 1 microwavable cup of 600 ml 1 microwavable cup of 600 ml
Sugar 2 tbsp 80 g 80 g
Butter (melted) 2 tbsp 80 g 80 g
Cream cheese (room temperature) 80 g
Fresh milk 2-3 tbsp 80 g 120 g
Coffee liquid 80 g
Eggs 1 egg 80 g 80 g
Self raising flours 2 tbsp 160 g 160 g
Cocoa powder 2 tbsp
Sodium Bicarbonate (optional) 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp
Microwavable time 3 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes

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STEPS OF PREPARTION

The steps of preparation is the same be it for a small cup or a 3 inches diameter cup. The illustration below is for a small cup one man personal chocolate cake.

Chocolate cake (serving for one)

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  • In a 250ml microwavable cup (one normal coffee cup), put sugar, self raising flour and slightly stir it until well mixed.
  • Add fresh milk, melted butters and eggs and use a spoon stir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no lumps.
  • This step is rather important and make sure any flour stick in the bottom will be scraped up and mixed and there are no air in the mixture. Lightly tap your cup in the table to see if there is any air trapped in the mixture.

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  • Place your cup in the microwave oven and heat it for 3 minutes under high power.
  • You will start to see the cake start to rise after 1 1/2 minutes and by the sides will start to contract. If your cup is smaller, you may see the batter started to rise even higher and possibly 1-2 cm above the cup level. That is ok since the cooked batter (now becoming cakes) are able to withstand the weight any uncooked batter that subsequently rise to the top.
  • Wait for 1-2 minutes before you take it out from the cup. Theoretically, it should not stick to  the sides or bottom of the cup if your batter are mixed thoroughly with no lumps of unmixed flour.
  • Be careful when you handle the cakes as it can be quite hot especially the inside of the cake.
  • If you can’t finish your cake and on your next serving, just heat up your cakes for 10-15 seconds and your cake will become soft again.

For the coffee log cake and cheesy butter cake, the steps of preparation is the same except the measurements as mentioned above and the incorporation of cheese in the above batter. The follow steps will apply for both cakes.

Coffee Log Cakes and Cheesy Butter Cakes

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  • In a 600ml microwavable cup, put sugar, sifted self raising flour, sodium bicarbonate and slightly stir it until well mixed. You can also melt the butter in the microwave using the same cup for about 1 minute.
  • For coffee log cake, have 80 g of hot water and add 2-3 table spoons of instant coffee powder until it is fully dissolved. You can also use hot milk instead. Add melted butters, coffee liquids, butters and eggs and use a spoon to sir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no more lumps. This is the batter of coffee log cake.
  • For cheesy butter cake, after you melted the butter, put the cream cheese into the hot melted butter and stir until almost well mixed. Add fresh milks and eggs and use a spoon to stir it until well mixed or when colour is even and there are no more lumps. This the batter mixture of the cheesy butter cake.
  • Again, this step is rather important and make sure to scrap any flours on the sides and bottom of the microwavable cup, mixed and ensure that there are no air in the mixture. Lightly tap your cup on the table to see if there is any air trapped in the mixture.

 

  • Place your cup in the microwave oven and heat it for 5 minutes under high power.
  • You will start to see the cake start to rise after 3 minutes and by the sides will start to contract. If your cup is smaller, you may see the batter started to rise even higher and possibly a few cm above the cup level (as in the picture). That is ok since the cooked batter (now becoming cakes) are able to withstand the weight of any uncooked batter that subsequently rise to the top.
  • Wait for 1-2 minutes before you take it out from the cup. Theoretically, it should not stick to  the sides or bottom of the cup if your batter are mixed thoroughly with no lumps of unmixed flour.

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IMG_0400  Cheesy Butter Cake

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Serving suggestions

  • Best served when hot with glass of tea or coffee.
  • Reheat in microwave for 10-15 seconds if necessary.
  • Add some cream cheese or fresh cream if desired.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • This post introduced the use of microwave to prepare a cake, if you do not want be your cake in the cup or mug size, you can used other microwavable kitchen utensils of your liking.  Most microwaves nowadays have a detail function for each cooking methods, select baking functions if available. Otherwise, use the high power function.
  • The use of microwave in the “baking” of a cake have cut short its preparation time considerably. Making a cake within 5 minutes were unthinkable in the olden times. It is obviously a good alternative to the traditional baking and steaming of preparing a cake,
  • The texture of the cake is unique as it is soft and moist. That make the cake easy to cut into any sizes desired.
  • It is an good alternative as a traditional tea cake but offer advantages of quick and fast preparation as compared to traditional tea cakes.
  • There are many possibility of using this simple preparation methods to “invent” cakes that you want.. Try to explore, may be banana cakes, carrot cakes, blueberry muffins…… and the list is never ending. The point to note is that you can use the traditional recipes but the batter must be well mixed and make sure no air is trapped in your batter!

 

Lastly, take a cup and a spoon, walk towards the kitchen, put in 2 tbsp of flours, chocolate powder (milo/horlicks), sugar, melted butter (cooking oil acceptable), fresh milks and 1 egg, Stir well, put it in the microwave and tell me what it look like.

Hope you LIKE it and have a nice day.

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  • For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 15 October 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit the blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE to keep abreast of my future posts.  

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