There are 4 parts to making this bread - (1) Tang Zhong (2) Cream cheese Filling (3) Cranberry (4) Bread dough - kneading, wrapping, proofing and baking. Several points to take note for each part which I will share.
First I started with the Tang Zhong because I needed to let it cool to room temperature before use. Basically 500g of water to 100g of bread flour, stir till well-mixed and cook over low heat until 65°C. I have a thermometer which helps a lot, otherwise cook till lines appear and the tang zhong looks like slightly thickened glue (not too thick else the bread will turn out too dry). Take off heat, cover with clingwrap and let it cool down. The tang zhong will yield more than enough to make at least 4 batches of bread; unused portions can be kept in the fridge for up to 2 days or till it turns greyish. Avoid cutting down the proportion coz if cooked using lesser water, the water loss through evaporation might result in dryer tang zhong and affects the overall bread texture.
Next I prepared the cream cheese filling. Pretty straightforward, just blend cream cheese with icing sugar and milk till smooth. Transfer to a piping bag with round nozzle (actually can do without nozzle) and chill it. It's important to chill the filling so that it's easier to wrap later on.
Don't forget the dried cranberries. Rinse and soak them in water for at least 15 mins, then drain and squeeze dry.
The dough part. 3 sets of ingredients required. (A) Dry ingredients - bread flour, cake flour, milk powder, sugar, salt and dry yeast. (B) Wet ingredients - Tang Zhong, water and egg. (C) Unsalted butter.
Mix all the dry and wet ingredients together and knead till gluten forms. I use my trusty KW mixer with dough hook. Then add slightly softened unsalted butter and knead till dough leaves the sides and bottom of mixer bowl. Finally, add the cranberries and knead for 1 min more. Shape the dough into a ball and place inside a slightly oiled large bowl, cover with clingwrap and proof for 40 mins/double in size.
I got about 600g of dough and divided them into 35g each (yield is 17 pieces of bread). Shape each piece into a ball, cover with clingwrap and then them rest for 10 mins.
The wrapping part. Take a piece of dough, flatten using rolling pin (if too sticky, dust with a bit of bread flour), pipe a generous dollop of cream cheese in the centre of the dough. Wrap and pitch tight to close the dough, make sure no cream cheese is leaking. Finally use the palm to flatten the dough (not too hard else the cream cheese will leak).
Final proofing. Use dark-coloured baking trays if possible so that the bread could be browned sufficiently during baking. I use my oven trays. Place a silpat mat or baking parchment on the baking tray and place the buns on top. Try to space them at least 2 cm apart as the buns will expand. I was too greedy here so my bread didn't turn out perfect with smooth round edges.
Place another silpat mat or baking parchment over the buns, and finally cover with another dark-coloured tray. Let the buns proof for about 40 mins. And finally bake them (yes with the buns sandwiched between the trays) at 210 degree celsius (top and bottom heat) for 12 mins.
Tadah! As a result of being too greedy and squeezing everything in just one tray, the bread didn't turn out perfect with smooth edges, they were joined at the sides.
Cranberry Cream Cheese Bun
(dough recipe from 65°C汤种面包 by Yvonne C. Cream cheese filling adapted from various internet sources.)
- 100g bread flour
- 500g water
(B) Cream Cheese Filling
- In a heavy bottom pot, combine bread flour with water until well-mixed.
- Heat the mixture over low fire, stirring continuously.
- Cook the mixture till 65°C (mixture will become thicker and gluey and visible lines will appear).
- Remove pot from heat, cover the top of the tangzhong mixture with clingwrap (to prevent drying out) and let the mixture cool completely before use.
- 250g cream cheese (I use 1 block of Philadelphia cream cheese), slighty softened
- 50g icing sugar
- 25g fresh milk
- Blend the cream cheese with icing sugar and fresh milk till smooth and creamy.
- Transfer to a piping bag and chill in fridge till ready to use.
- 60g dried cranberries
- Rinse and soak the dried cranberries in water for 15 mins.
- Drain and squeeze dry. Set aside.
- 210g bread flour
- 56 cake flour
- 20g milk powder
- 42 caster sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6g instant dry yeast
- 84g tangzhong
- 85g water
- 30g whole egg
- 22g unsalted butter
- Combine all the dry ingredients into a mixer bread. Avoid putting the yeast together with the salt.
- Add the wet ingredients (except butter) to the dry ingredients. Start mixing the ingredients on low speed using the dough hook.
- Once ingredients are combined, increase mixer speed to medium high.
- Once gluten forms, add the butter.
- Knead the dough at medium high speed until dough is elastic and smooth. Dough will leave the sides and bottom of bowl. To test if dough is ready, take a small piece of dough, stretch outwards into a rectangle. Dough will be elastic and translucent. When the dough breaks, the hole will be jagged.
- Add the cranberries and knead for 1 min.
- Tuck the dough neatly into a ball and place the dough into a large well-oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and leave to proof at room temperature for 40 mins or till dough doubles in size (in Singapore, room temperature is about 28 to 30 degree celsius with 70-80% humidity).
- To check if dough is proofed, coat forefinger with flour and stick into middle of dough and remove, if the hole remains, the dough is sufficiently proofed.
- Cut and weigh dough into desired sizes and tuck each dough into a ball (Dough weight is about 600g. I made 17 buns about 35g each). Let dough rest for 10 mins.
- Flatten each dough using a rolling pin (dust with a little bit of bread flour if needed, not too much), pipe a generous dollop of cream cheese in the centre of the dough. Wrap and pitch the dough to close, make sure cream cheese filling is well-covered. Gently flatten bun with palm.
- Place a silpat mat or baking parchment on top of a dark-coloured baking tray. Place the buns on top of the mat about 2cm apart from each other. Cover the buns with another silpat mat or baking parchment, then finally place another dark-coloured baking tray on top. Let proof for 40 mins.
- Preheat oven at 210 degree celsius (top and bottom heat).
- Bake the buns (as sandwiched between baking trays during proofing) for 12 mins at 210 degree celsius.
- Once baked, remove the trays from the oven and cool the buns on a wire rack.
- Once cooled, the buns should be kept in air-tight container to prevent drying.