lotus paste buns

I had some lotus paste left from making mooncakes.

The great thing about lotus paste (or most Chinese pastes) is that you can store them for a year. Fantastic! So I always buy extra during festival time and keep the balance for making buns later on.

I made a tang zhong (汤种) the other day because I felt like making some bread. What I forgot was I had to wait for the tang zhong to cool down to room temperature before I could use it. So I left it in the fridge and made some 40 minutes Cheese Buns instead.

This means that I still had the tang zhong sitting in the fridge so this morning I decided to make some buns with it.

I am still a beginner when it comes to bread making and I really admire some of the different shaped buns that my friends in various baking groups have come up with.

So today, I made the buns in the shape of flowers.

To make these buns, you first need to make the tang zhong.

Mix together water and flour over low heat until it thickens and leaves a streak when stirred. For a more detailed explanation, see here.

Allow the tang zhong to cool to room temperature before using.

To make the dough, place all the ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl.

Use the hook attachment of the mixer to mix until the dough comes together.

Add the butter and mix to combine.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, roll the dough to cover it with oil, place a piece of damp cloth over the bowl and let the dough proof until it has doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 12 portions.Roll the lotus paste into balls, each weighing about 30g.Roll each portion of dough into a flat disc.Place a ball of lotus paste in the middle of the dough, gather the edges and pinch to seal.Gently flatten the dough with your palm.Make 4 cuts at right angles using a knife. Make 4 more cuts.Twist alternate segments in a clockwise direction twice and the rest in an anti-clockwise direction twice.Rest the buns, covered, for an hour. 
Brush egg wash on the buns. Bake at 160-170°C for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool completely.Then just tuck in! 

Lotus Paste Buns
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For the tangzhong
  1. 25g bread flour
  2. 125ml water
For the bread dough
  1. 1/2 beaten egg
  2. 35g condensed milk
  3. 83g tangzhong
  4. 60ml water
  5. 200g bread flour
  6. 50g cake flour
  7. 50g castor sugar
  8. 7g yeast
  9. 5g salt
  10. 20g unsalted butter
For the filling
  1. 360g lotus paste, divided into 12 portions
For the egg wash
  1. 1 egg + 45ml milk, beaten (or just milk if making a vegetarian version)
For the tangzhong
  1. Mix the flour and water in a saucepan over low fire, stirring constantly.
  2. Once mixture has thickened and lines start to form, remove from heat, transfer to a bowl, cover the bowl with cling wrap and set aside to cool.
  3. *Only use the tangzhong when it has reached room temperature.
For the buns
  1. To make the dough, place all the ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl.
  2. Use the hook attachment of the mixer to mix until the dough comes together.
  3. Add the butter and mix to combine.
  4. Place the bowl in a lightly greased bowl, roll the dough to cover it with oil, place a piece of damp cloth over the bowl and let the dough proof until it has doubled in size.
  5. Divide the dough into 12 portions. Roll each portion of dough into a flat disc.
  6. Place a ball of lotus paste in the middle of the dough, gather the edges and pinch to seal.
  7. Gently flatten the dough with your palm. Make 4 cuts at right angles using a knife. Make 4 more cuts.
  8. Twist alternate segments in a clockwise direction twice and the rest in an anti-clockwise direction twice.
  9. Rest the buns, covered, for an hour.
  10. Brush egg wash on the buns. Bake at 160-170°C for 18-20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown.
  11. Allow to cool in the pans for about 10 minutes before transferring onto wire racks to cool completely.
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