29 August 2018

Cream Cheese Bun & Burger Bun using Japanese Yudane method

I have not baked these Cream Cheese Buns for ages! In Singapore they are known as "Ah Bian" originating from the homegrown bakery chain BreadTalk. I often wonder why these cream cheese buns are baked flat instead of other shapes like round or longish? Vaguely recall that it was introduced many years back during the Taiwan Presidential Elections and the bun was named after former President Chen Shui-Bian (who is affectionately called Ah Bian by her people). My memory might be wrong.

I digress.

Anyways, 4 years ago, I baked the Cranberry Cream Cheese version which is the original version using the Tangzhong (water-roux) method. This time I tried the Yudane method which is a method created by Japanese bakers to achieve super fluffy bread texture and remains soft even the next few days. In fact I've been baking buns with filling all along using this method or a similar Yukone method. Frankly I'm not so sure what's the difference between the two (didn't have time or rather lazy to find out). Basically the method is using boiling water to scald bread flour to form a "rough dough" known as gelatinized starch. Chill this starch overnight in fridge and add it to the main dough the next day.

If I have time or plan my bakes in advance, I would prefer this Yudane method over the 65C Tangzhong method because firstly due to the method, there's always leftover tangzhong (which I ended up discarding) and secondly somehow the bread doesn't turn out as fluffy as the Yudane method.

This time I baked the cream cheese bun without cranberry because the boy specifically told me he didn't want cranberries! Grrr, he used to like cranberries -_-

I also used part of the dough to make burger buns because I was planning for homemade beef burger and disliked store-bought burger buns. I prefer my burger buns to be soft and fluffy with tinge of sweetness and buttery flavour; and they go with my homemade beef patties very well.

In fact, this dough is really versatile, can be used to make buns with filling, burger buns, hotdog buns and even loaf bread.

As mentioned, make the Yudane one day in advance or the night before and chill in the fridge (forgot to take photo of the Yudane). The next day, simply add all the dough ingredients with the Yudane into the mixer and let the mixer knead the dough (I use KitchenAid and knead at Speed 4 for around 10-12 mins). The dough tends to be very soft and slightly sticky so I usually oil my hands before picking up the dough. Let the dough rise for about 45 mins till double in size.

After 45 mins of first proof, I divided the dough into individual portions. The dough weight was about 500g; 3 portions of dough 70g each were reserved for the burger buns and remaining 8 dough portions 36g each for the cream cheese buns. Slightly round the dough portions and cover the dough portions with clingwrap and let them rest for 10 mins.

The 3 burger buns were then shaped and rounded first so that they could finish their second proofing before the cream cheese buns and baked first.

For the remaining 8 portions, flatten and scoop the cream cheese filling in the middle, close into a ball, pitch the dough tightly before flattening the dough into shape.

Cream cheese filling is very simple, just mix cream cheese, icing sugar, fresh milk and vanilla extract till light and creamy, and chill in freezer till ready to use. 

The second proofing for the cream cheese buns is slightly more tricky. They have to be proofed and baked flattened in order to retain the shape, and preferably using dark-coloured trays for the buns to "darken". I haven't tried using normal aluminum trays, maybe the buns will not be as browned.

What I did was to have a large baking tray at the bottom, place a baking mat or paper on the bottom tray, place the buns on the mat/paper. Cover the buns with another baking mat/paper, then cover them with another baking tray. I only have 1 dark-color tray, so I used 2 smaller trays which worked too. Let the buns proof for 45-60 mins, and send the whole set-up into the oven to bake. That's it! Actually not that difficult after all.

Cream Cheese Bun
[dough weight is about 500g, makes 8 cream cheese bun (36g each) & 3 burger buns (70g each)]

Japanese Yudane
(prepare night before)
  • 50g bread flour
  • 50g boiling water
  1. Place the bread flour in a heat-proof bowl. Add boiling water and quickly mix the flour with the water using a spatula. Keep pressing and bring the
  2. Initially the dough will be bits and pieces but keep pressing and bring the dough together, a rough dough will form.
  3. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and once the dough cool to room temperature, transfer the bowl to chill in fridge till next day.

Cream cheese filling
(prepare during first proof)
  • 150g cream cheese, cubed and softened
  • 40g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp fresh milk
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Place the cream cheese and icing sugar in a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed (Speed 4-6) till well blended.
  2. Add fresh milk and vanilla extract and mix till filling is light and creamy.
  3. Scrap the cream cheese filling into a container and store in the freezer till ready to use.  
  • Yeast mixture: 20g lukewarm water, 6g instant dry yeast, 5g caster sugar
  • 200g bread flour
  • 1 recipe Japanese Yudane
  • 1 recipe yeast mixture
  • 50g water
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 2g fine sea salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 egg white (reserve remaining half for brushing on burger bun)
  • 40g unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened
  1.  In a small bowl, mix water, yeast and sugar and let the mixture rest for a few minutes to turn frothy.
  2. Add bread flour, Yudane, yeast mixture, water, sugar, salt, egg yolk and egg white into a mixing bowl. Using a dough hook, mix the dough ingredients on low speed (speed 1 KitchenAid) for a minute, then switch to medium low speed (speed 2) and knead the dough till rough dough forms. 
  3. Add the butter, piece by piece into the dough. Once all the butter cubes are added, turn up mixer speed to medium (Speed 4) and knead the dough for about 10-12 mins. The dough is ready when it leaves the bottom of the bowl and "rides up" to the top of the dough hook. Or use the window pane method by stretching a piece of dough, it will be stretchy and almost translucent without breaking.
  4. The dough is quite soft and slightly sticky, oil both hands and take out the dough from the mixing bowl. Lightly knead for a minute, round the dough and place the dough into a well-oiled bowl for first proof. Cover the bowl with clingwrap and let the dough proof for about 30-45 mins or till dough doubles in size. *based on summer weather, hot & humid
  5. After 30-45 mins, take out the dough and knead lightly to press out the gas. Divide the dough into desired portions. Dough weight is about 500g, I divided the dough into 3 pieces of 70g each and 8 pieces of 36g each. Slightly round the dough portions, cover them with clingwrap and rest for 10 mins.
  6. Start with the burger buns, tighten and round the dough (by cupping the dough in the middle of your palm), and place the dough on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Cover loosely with clingwrap and proof for 45 mins. *Preheat the oven at 200 degree celsius after 30 mins.
  7. For the cream cheese buns, take a piece of dough, flatten using rolling pin into a disc. Scoop about 1 - 1.5 spoon of cream cheese filling into the centre of the disc. Close up the dough into a ball and pinch tightly. Turn the dough over, roll it into a ball by cupping the dough in the middle of your palm, then flatten the dough once again using the palm. Repeat till all the dough used up.
  8. Prepare 2 large dark-coloured baking trays and 2 baking mats or paper. Start with a large baking tray at the bottom, place a baking mat or paper on the bottom tray, place the flattened dough pieces on the mat/paper. Cover them with another baking mat/paper, and finally cover with another baking tray. Proof for 45-60 mins.
  9. First bake burger buns: 200 degree celsius for 10-12 mins. *turn down temperature to 180 or 190 degree celsius, and cover buns with aluminum foil if the buns browned too fast.
  10. Second bake cream cheese buns: Send the whole set-up (step 8) into the oven, 200 degree celsius for 10-12 mins.
  11. Let the buns cool on a wire rack. If keeping till next day, cool completely before storing in an airtight box.

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