Matcha red bean buns – Green tea adzuki buns (Using the Tang-Zhong starter method)

It has been a very long while since I posted my last recipe. From graduating University to baking almost every single week; I am back in sharing with you some of my favourite recipes again!

One of the most popular posts I have on this blog is the Creamy Custard Buns (Using the Tang Zhong starter method). So I am going to start with another bun recipe that is also one of my favourites; a Matcha Adzuki bun (adzuki is also known as red bean paste). 

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Yet again by using the Tang Zhong starter method it creates a soft and fluffy bun that remains fresh for up to 3-5 days in an air-tight container. No more crusty old stale bread! It’s essentially a water roux starter of flour and liquid in the ratio of 1:5, which is cooked until it reaches 65 °C.

So if you like to enjoy those extremely fresh soft buns in those Chinese bakeries you can find in China town, why not give this recipe ago!

Ingredients for Water roux starter (TangZhong湯種)

  • 25g bread flour
  • 60ml /  1/4 cup water
  • 60ml /  1/4 cup milk

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 340g cups bread flour
  • 1 tbsp Matcha (Green tea) powder
  • 55g / 3tbsp 2tsp Caster sugar
  • 1tbsp 1tsp Milk powder
  • 2 tsp Instant dried yeast
  • 1tsp Salt
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/2 cup Warm milk (But not hot)
  • 30g Soft butter
  • 1 portion of Red bean paste
  • 1 whisked egg yolk to glaze

Making tang-zhong:

  1. Mix flour, water and milk in a sauce pan ensuring that there are no lumps.
  2. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly.
  3. When the mixture thickens to a paste consistency, cook on a low heat for a further minute. (Similar in cooking custard but a thicker consistency.)
  4. Remove from heat and cover with cling film, ensuring the surface is touched with the cling film (this is to prevent a skin from forming)

You can either let this cool while you weigh up the ingredients for your dough or you can either chill it in the fridge. This can last up to 3 days, just check that the mixture hasn’t turn grey.

Making the dough:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in the order listed above except from the salt. Stir the yeast in before you add the salt as yeast doesn’t like salt. (The salt can kill the yeast) Make a well in the centre. Add the milk, tang-zhong and egg in to the well and mix.
  2. Knead this dough until the dough is smooth and less sticky. (This dough is going to be very sticky and would seem like it’s impossible to handle, just be patient with it and try not to add extra flour. If you’re lucky enough to own a bread maker or a kitchen aid you can let it do the hard work.)
  3. Knead in the butter. While kneading you should every so often drop the dough from a height, this also helps stretch the gluten.
  4. The dough should be ready when it’s smooth and when you stretch the dough you can almost see through it.
  5. Place in a bowl and cover with a warm damp towel. Let this rest in a warm spot until it’s doubled in size. There is no specified time; usually I’ll leave it for 1-2 hours, depending on how cool the room is. (Some leave their dough in the fridge overnight which creates soft and flavoursome bread.)
  6. Once the dough has risen, deflate the dough and transfer it to a floured surface.
  7. Divide and roll the dough into 8 equal portions (Depending what size bread you would like to serve).
  8. Cover with cling film and let this rest for 15 minutes, this relaxes the dough to make it more pliable.
  9. Roll each dough out and place about a heaped tablespoon of the red bean paste on top. Seal the sides by gathering the ends and shape it until it forms a ball. Place the seam side down on to a baking sheet.
  10. Cover the shaped bun with cling film and repeat with the rest of the dough. Leave the dough to rise for around 1-2 hours, or until it’s puffed up in size. *
  11. Brush the surface of the dough with a whisked egg. **
  12. Bake this in a pre-heated oven of 160c -180c for 15-20 minutes. Check if it’s cooked when the surface has turned into a nice golden colour and that the base has turned golden brown too.
  13. Cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

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*To check whether the buns are ready for the oven, poke the side of the buns. When it springs back immediately leave it to proof a little longer. When it springs back a little but a dent remains, it is ready.

**You can choose to place an egg wash on it or not. An egg wash will encourage more browning which means you might need to place some tin foil on top of the buns after it has reached the optimal colour to prevent it from burning. The egg wash creates a nice shine on the final product, opting this out will create a matte finish.

These can remain soft and fluffy for up to 3 days provided that you put it in an air-tight container (if the weather is hot and humid place them in the fridge). You’d be amazed with the results, give them a try and I promise you won’t regret!

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