20 October 2014

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bun

My kiddo loves the "Ah Bian" aka Cranberry Cream Cheese Bun from Bread Talk very much, so this bread has been on my to-bake list for a long time. Just that I have been busy baking cakes for orders and obsessing over k-dramas :p.

Finally got down to baking it! Many of my blogger friends (Passionate about Baking, Peng's Kitchen, AtKokken) have already tried it, and there are also many recipes available on the internet; I'm indeed a slow coach :p.

Since this is a last minute decision, decided to use the 65°C Tang zhong (湯種) method (instead of water roux/yukone method which requires the starter dough to be pre-cooked and chilled for at least 1 day); have tried this Tang Zhong method before and the bread texture was not bad.

I made 2 batches (separately) because for the first batch I didn't dare to fill too much cream cheese filling and the proportion didn't turn out well, too much bread, too little filling. Taste-wise still ok, but not satisfying, so I had to make a second batch.

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.

Nonetheless, they were still ok to eat, just not too pretty to look at. Next time next time. Anyways, both hubby and kiddo gave thumbs up! The bread texture was still soft the next day.

Cranberry Cream Cheese Bun
(dough recipe from 65°C汤种面包 by Yvonne C. Cream cheese filling adapted from various internet sources.)


(A) Tangzhong

  • 100g bread flour
  • 500g water
  1. In a heavy bottom pot, combine bread flour with water until well-mixed.
  2. Heat the mixture over low fire, stirring continuously.
  3. Cook the mixture till 65°C (mixture will become thicker and gluey and visible lines will appear).
  4. 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.
 (B) Cream Cheese Filling
  • 250g cream cheese (I use 1 block of Philadelphia cream cheese), slighty softened
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 25g fresh milk
  1. Blend the cream cheese with icing sugar and fresh milk till smooth and creamy.
  2. Transfer to a piping bag and chill in fridge till ready to use.
(C) Cranberries
  • 60g dried cranberries
  1. Rinse and soak the dried cranberries in water for 15 mins.
  2. Drain and squeeze dry. Set aside.
 (D) Dough
  • 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
  1. Combine all the dry ingredients into a mixer bread. Avoid putting the yeast together with the salt.
  2. Add the wet ingredients (except butter) to the dry ingredients. Start mixing the ingredients on low speed using the dough hook.
  3. Once ingredients are combined, increase mixer speed to medium high.
  4. Once gluten forms, add the butter.
  5. 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.
  6. Add the cranberries and knead for 1 min.
  7. 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).
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Preheat oven at 210 degree celsius (top and bottom heat).
  13. Bake the buns (as sandwiched between baking trays during proofing) for 12 mins at 210 degree celsius.
  14. Once baked, remove the trays from the oven and cool the buns on a wire rack.
  15. Once cooled, the buns should be kept in air-tight container to prevent drying.


  1. Hi
    Been sourcing for this recipe for some time and noticed that your sugar level for the fillings are much lower than the others I found :)

    One query, is it alright to add cranberry into the fillings? If so, any need to chg the other ingredients portion?


  2. Hi EC,
    I don't like the fillings to be too sweet :)
    Yes, you can add the cranberry into the cream cheese filling. May need to reduce the amount of cranberry coz the space for filling in the middle of the dough is limited, and also proportion-wise, need to balance the ratio of cream cheese to cranberry. I added the cranberry directly to the dough instead of filling, so that they are more spread out.

  3. Hi Meg,

    I love the raisin cream cheese buns sold in bakery shop in Singapore, thus, have been looking for recipe that look easy and not too sweet (thus come across your blog where doing googling). This also part of reason why I thinking of adding dried fruits in :) :p

    What's the fillings of texture like? Is it too soft to handle even after putting inside fridge? Reason for asking is you have add milk, thus, I wonder if is it hard to handle as you are using piping bag instead of just scope via spoon.

    Sorry for asking so many questions :)


  4. Hi EC,
    The cream cheese filling is quite manageable once chilled sufficiently. Actually no problem to use spoon :) I use piping bag coz it's neater and easier to control for me.
    Good luck in baking these buns!

  5. Hi Meg

    Just to let you know that I have tried the filling over the weekend and its great :)

    Not sweet and taste just right for my taste bud. I only need to improve in the bread look *LOL* but it's ok as I making for family to eat.... hahaa

    Thanks for the recipe :P


  6. Hi EC,
    Glad that the bun turned out ok for you :) Since it's for own consumption, looks don't really matter :p Practice makes perfect!

  7. Hi Meg, your step 11 is to let the dough go sideways is it? The top tray used to put on top of bread is it can't be too heavy?

  8. Hi Michelle,
    Yes, the step is to let the bun remain flat throughout the baking, instead of puffing upwards like the usual buns. Heavy tray --- flat buns, and dark coloured tray --- buns will get browned. Actually it's ok not to let the bun go flat, can also stay round and puffy, just that I'm trying to mimic what's sold at bakeries.

  9. Thanks! months ago, I tried direct dough method, wasn't that tasty the next day, and I didn't use your method, if its airy in between, haha....got to try your recipe soon!

  10. Hi Michelle,
    This is the Tangzhong method which is quite popular among homebakers. But like all homemade bread, it's best to be eaten within 1-2 days, because we don't use bread improvers to make bread stay soft longer and also no preservatives.

  11. Hi Meg, when you say let the tangzhong chilled is it in fridge? Or room temp for 24hrs at least?

  12. Hi Michelle,
    For the tangzhong, I just let it cool down at room temperature and once it's cool down, I will start to make the bread. It takes about 45-60 mins only. I usually bake on the same day instead of chilling the tangzhong overnight.

  13. Thanks Meg, I tried it before your reply, I let it cooled down and chilled for 1 day. Bread texture is ok. but the filling wasn't creamy like the shops, seems like cooked cheese. I baked at late night, so I ate on the next day morning. Was it normal for home baked?

  14. Hi Michelle,
    Yes I realised the cheese filling is a little dehydrated, and not as creamy. I'm also trying to decipher the recipe, how to achieve the type of creamy cheese texture, will update if I succeed.