Try your hand at this simple sweet bun recipe. The dough is super versatile, so you can be creative with your fillings; mashed purple yams or mung bean paste make sweeter buns, while minced mushrooms or BBQ pork create savory variations. Additionally, the recipe can be tweeked to be made vegan. The buns are baked until golden-brown, come out soft and doughy and are best eaten while still warm. Yum!
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus 2 to 3 hours rise time
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: ~3 to 4 hours
½ cup white sugar
1 cup warm milk (~110°F)
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
4 cups flour
2 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons water
3 purple yams
Pinch of salt
Savory filling variation:
Minced mushrooms: Sauté mushrooms and garlic in a bit of oil and soy sauce until soft. Place everything in a food processor and pulse until mushrooms are in tiny pieces.
1. Whisk sugar and milk together in a large mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved.
2. Stir in yeast and let sit until frothy, about 10 minutes.
2. Stir in flour, all beaten eggs (except 1 tablespoon set aside), vegetable oil and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. If making a vegan version, follow instructions to make 2 replacement eggs and add all to dough mixture.
3. Flour work surface and knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky.
4. Oil a large bowl, place dough in bowl and cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Place bowl in a warm spot, such as in an oven that isn’t on, and let rise for 2 to 3 hours until it doubles in size.
5. In the meantime, prepare your filling. For a purple yam filling, wash purple yams to remove dirt.
6. Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water. Boil. Place yams (carefully!) into pan.
7. Cover and let cook until fork tender.
8. Allow yams to cool and then mash with a fork. Add a pinch of salt.
9. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.
10. Remove dough from bowl and punch down a few times. Knead for 1 minute. Roll dough into a log and divide into 12 pieces.
11. Roll each piece into a ball and then flatten into a disc shape.
12. Place about 2 tablespoons of yam filling onto center of dough disc.
13. Bring edges of dough up over filling. Pinch and twist dough to seal. Place each bun, seam-side down, on baking sheet.
14. Beat remaining 1 tablespoon of egg with 2 teaspoons water to make an egg wash. Brush top of each bun with egg wash, using a pastry brush (or a piece of paper towel.) TIP: If you are making a vegan version, forego egg wash.
15. Bake for 10 minutes and then turn baking sheet around 180 degrees. Bake for another 10 to 20 minutes until tops are golden and shiny. Serve warm. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from GAUSSSHAWN’s Chinese Sweet Bun Dough.