18 May 2011

Sweet Soft Buns Workshop

After attending the last Cheesecake demo class by Chef Valerie Kong at Shermay's Cooking School, I attended another demo class of hers last Friday. This time, the Sweet Soft Buns demo class.

Had attended a few bread making demo class conducted by Chef Daniel Tay previously, but somehow the tedious process made me hesitant about attempting the recipes. Okay, I admit, I procasinated and was lazy to go through all the kneading and proofing of the dough.

What attracted me to this particular class was the method used by Chef Valerie, the Japanese 'Yukone' method which supposedly yields bread that is incredibly soft and slightly chewy. Curious. Since dear son loves to eat soft bun and I hope to avoid commercial breads which may contain artificial stuff (such as bread improver), I signed up for the class immediately.

4 recipes were demo-ed in the 3hr class.
  1. Coffee Roti - sweet soft bun with buttery filling encased in a crispy coffee flavoured Mexican topping. Think Roti Boy/Roti Mum.
  2. Tuna Bun - sweet soft bun stuffed with filling of tuna and mayo, shaped round and topped with little black sesame seeds.
  3. Hot Dog Bun - spirals of sweet soft bun with sausage in the middle.
  4. Cranberry Cream Cheese Bun - sweet soft bun with cranberries studded in between and sweet cheese filling in the centre.
This is certainly no mean feat considering bread making process is long and requires sufficient time for kneading and proofing. Yet, when the dough is well proofed, it needs to be baked immediately. As such, Chef Valerie had to go back and forth the various recipes at different stages. At the end of the day, I believe that the key point is to plan in advance if I were to bake the breads.
Chef Valerie showed us how to make the master recipe for the bread dough using a Gelatinized Starch, basically the 'Yukone' method. Was quite surprised that the process was rather easy, replying mostly on electric mixer instead of hand kneading. Yeah, definitely good news for lazy me. Proofing also takes only 20min to at most 1hr.

After making the basic bread dough, variations are actually up to individual preference. One variation is the popular Cranberry Cream Cheese Bun, fondly known as 'Ah Bian' which I believe first made popular by Breadtalk. The dough was ''sandwiched'' between 2 heavy cookie tray during proofing and baking in order to achieve this flat look. Now I know.

The hot dog bun is the ever green and popular bread of all times, especially among kids. I guess the tough part is twirling the dough round the hot dog so that it looks nice after baking.

I love tuna buns, it is yet another classic. Somehow I almost always buy tuna bun when I'm at the bakery. The beauty of this sweet soft bun is, I can fill it with almost any ingredient I like. I can already think of the variations I like, such as luncheon meat, potato & ham...

We had 2 tastings in class, the Coffee Roti and Tuna Bun. I must say that the bun was really good, very soft indeed! It's amazing how this 'Yukone' method of baking bread could yield such fantastic result with reasonably less effort.

The coffee roti was crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside. Yum! The tuna bun, what can I say, sweet and soft bun with savoury fillings. Yum yum!

All participants received a takeaway box with mini buns of all 4 flavours. Didn't manage to take photo as dear son ate the cranberry cream cheese bread immediately after I reached home. The coffee roti turned soft already, so it's best eaten when just baked. For the hot dog bun, the bread turned a little damp probably due to the moisture from the sausage. I guess it's not suitable in mini size.

Anyways, while the mini buns look adorable, I thought the bread was not 'enough', I mean, I would prefer to take a big bite of the soft fluffy bun. Probably mini ones are more suitable for toddlers than greedy adults :p

I can't wait to try baking this sweet soft buns one of these days, starting with my favourite luncheon meat filling! Will update when I'm done!


  1. Ha, so you were there. I was there too :)... I tried out the recipes almost immediately the next day... and have made a few batches and tweaked recipes a little. Super soft! I now need to practice more to get a perfect round bun!

  2. Hi Shirley,
    Ah, you were there too? I hope to bake the buns soon. You are so fast!