“40 Minutes Bread Roll” with Sarawak Butter Bun’s Filling (四十分钟快速面包和特有牛油馅)



I am rather lazy and impatience when it come to bread making and I am looking for a simple quick and fast recipe. I have been eyeing on this 40 minutes bread rolls recipes from Ms Diana Gale of Domestic Goddess Wannabe. She issued the post less than a month ago at 7 April 2014 and within the last two weeks, English Facebook Groups members in Singapore were trying out her recipes and posts from this recipe have flooded Facebook Group’s walls. Well, I have decided to give it a try since most bakers have concurred that it is an easy and soft bread.. It met my objective of looking for a lazy and fast bread recipe…….


In fact, I have been craving for my Sarawak butter buns, a unique dinner buns with a special butter filling it. I have not had it for almost half a year. Ask any Sarawakian overseas, most will tell you that they missed these buns. This special bun comes with a rich and aromatic butter flavoured filling. Taking a bite resembles having a piece of bread spreads with butter and sugar.. History of this unique bun have yet to be traced and this will be my second post on this fillings. If you wish, you can refer to my earlier post : Homesick Buns? Yes, I am homesick of Sarawak Style Butter Buns.. In this post, the bread dough is another recipe prepared using Tangzhong.


I love the buns. It is soft and fluffy but though simple, care and observation still need to be carried out by the baker. The more time you knead, the gluten structure have build up, the softer and fluffier it will be. Longer time of proofing also helps. Therefore, if you are not really rushing for time, do give the dough sometime to proof …I believed a 50 minutes or 60 minutes bread though is also acceptable to me since this is a simple, single proofing bread.


I did not exactly time the bake but I knew it is definitely less than an hour because I started at 1.35 pm and finished off at about 2:30pm.


There are no major changes to the original recipe but I like my recipe to round up to the nearest number of cups or grams. Therefore, in the event there are any discrepancies, that should be the main reason.


Since this is a quite bread, I have by passed the step of yeast testing and put everything inside the whisking bowl and start the kneading.



Recipe adapted from: 40 minutes bread rolls recipe from Domestic Goddess Wannabe

Servings: about 9 dinner rolls of about 100 grams each. (advisable to make into 18 dinner rolls of about 50 grams each)


Bread dough

  • 3 1/2 cups of bread flour (面粉)
  • 1 cup of warm water (温水)
  • 1/3 cup of corn oil (玉米油)
  • 1/4 cup of castor sugar (细砂糖)
  • Pinches of salt (optional) (少许盐巴)
  • 1 egg (鸡蛋)
  • 1 packet of instant yeast –11 grams (即发酵母)


Butter Fillings

  • 150 grams of butter (牛油)
  • 150 grams of castor sugar (细砂糖)
  • 180 grams of plain flour (普通面粉)



  • Lightly grease a square baking tin of 8 inches by 8 inches or get ready some cupcake cups.

Preparing the butter filling


  • 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 9 small balls of about 50 g each. Set aside for later use.

Preparing the bread dough


  • Put all the ingredients for bread dough in a whisking bowl. Use a spoon to lightly stir it. Beat using a dough hook at medium to high speed until it becomes smooth which took about 10 minutes.


  • When the dough is smooth, weigh the dough and divide equally into your desired number of buns. (Note that in this illustration, the buns are rather big and more difficult to bake, you can always make it into a smaller bun. For this illustration, I have prepared 9 buns of 100 grams each. Suggestion is to divide into 18 buns with 50 grams of dough each and fillings of about 25 grams)

  • Take a dough, shape round, flatten lightly and put a butter filling on top of the dough. Seal the sides and placed in an 8” x ‘’8” lightly greased square baking tin with the sealing sides facing the bottom. Do the same for all the remaining dough. (Note that you can always placed your dough in a cupcake cups instead of squeezing all in the baking tin as in the illustration. It will speed up the baking time too).


  • Once shaping done, cover the dough with a piece of cloth or tangy wrap to prevent lose of moisture. At this stage, preheat the oven to 220 Degree Celsius. The proving time will be the the time the oven heat up from room temperature to 220 degree Celsius and  will take about 10-15 minutes or slightly more.

  • Once the oven reached 220 degree Celsius, egg wash the buns and bake the buns in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and bread aroma penetrates the house. For egg washing, beat one additional eggs and mixed with 2 tablespoons of water, sifted the egg mixture and brush the egg mixture on top of the dough.

  • The timing is for reference and it very much depends on the size of the buns. The smaller it is, the easier it is to get baked. The bigger the buns or loaf, longer time is needed. If your bread turns out hard or dense on the next day, chances are your bread is under baked. It will not be obvious when you take out from the oven but it will be obvious when it cooled down.



Frankly speaking, I did not really time the entire process. But I can be sure that it took me less than an hour to get this bread done. While this is a simple recipe but care and observation still need to be exercised. All timings are for references. It is best to take a few minutes more to knead the dough until smooth and as for baking time, it will very much depend on how you shape and position your buns. I have to be frank that the buns position in this illustration is more difficult to bake as it is a huge mass of bread. Therefore,  I have taken extra care when baking my buns. Do make it a smaller bun with a small fillings if preferred.


Do give this simple recipe a try and lastly, thanks to Ms Diana Gale for this wonderful recipe of hers. You can refer the original recipe here.


For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 21 March 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  


If you are a Pinterest user and you are interested to have more recipes, you can join or follow this Pinterest Board set up by me  where there are more than 1800 recipes worldwide and pinned by various bloggers: FOOD BLOGGERS AND FOODIES UNITED PINTEREST BOARD. You can also join the Food Bloggers and Foodies United Group Facebook Group to see more recipes. Currently there are about 4500 members sharing various food photos .


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


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.




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.


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.


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.



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


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



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




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. “


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.




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


  • 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.


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.


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.


What is required


  • 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)


  • 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)


  • 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).


  • 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.




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


  • 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.


  • 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.




  • 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. 


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



  • 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.



  • 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.


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. 



  • 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.