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Soft & Moist Bakery-Style Butter Coconut Buns

These soft and moist butter coconut buns are super easy to make with my step-by-step pictorial to guide you! This is the only sweet bun dough recipe you'll need. Fill with your favourite sweet and savoury fillings. Double or triple to make a large batch for any picnic or tea party!
Course: Bread & Buns, Dessert, Snacks and Treats
Servings :12 buns
Prep Time: 3 hrs
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs 20 mins


For the filling:

  • 200 g butter, at room temperature, cubed
  • 100 g sugar
  • 55 g plain flour
  • 30 g corn flour
  • 20 g milk powder
  • 40 g dried desiccated coconut

For the sweet bun dough:

  • 340 g bread flour
  • 17 g milk powder
  • 7 g custard powder
  • 7 g instant yeast
  • 3 g bread improver (optional)
  • 68 g sugar
  • 38 g egg (read instruction)
  • 7 g vinegar
  • 176 g water
  • 17 g milk
  • 34 g butter
  • 3 g salt

For the topping:

  • Some white sesame seeds


To make the filling:

  • Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed till light. Add plain flour, corn flour, milk powder and desiccated coconut. Mix till well combined. Refrigerate until firm. Store extra filling (if any) in air-tight container, and freeze for up to one month.

To make the dough:

  • Line a 11 x 14-inch baking tray with baking paper. In a clean mixer bowl, combine bread flour, milk powder, custard powder, yeast, bread improver (optional), and sugar. Stir with a whisk to combine well.
  • Add egg, vinegar, water and milk (Tip: for egg measurement, beat one whole egg to mix yolk and white evenly. Weigh out 38 grams, set aside the remaining egg for egg wash. You can add 1-2 tsps of milk to make more egg wash, if needed or desired).
  • Fit the mixer with a dough hook, start on low speed for 1 minute to allow the ingredients to come together as a rough dough. Increase speed to medium-high, and continue to knead until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl (pickup stage).
  • Add the butter and salt. Knead at medium-high speed until the sides of the bowl come clean, and until the dough is smooth and elastic. This may take 5 - 7 minutes. Do the 'Windowpane Test' (read recipe notes below). Once 'windowpane' is achieved, gather the dough into a ball. Cover loosely with cling wrap, and let dough ferment for 15 minutes.
  • Weigh the dough, and divide by 12 to get the weight of dough for each bun (it should roughly fall between 58 to 60 gm each). Divide into 12 portions. Shape into balls and let rest for 10 minutes.
  • On a lightly dusted worktop, flip over each dough ball so that the smooth side is underneath, and the rough side faces you. Flatten into a round disc. Place 30 g of filling in the centre of each dough, wrap and seal. Place on paper-lined baking tray, sealed side down, spacing about 1-inch apart for pull-apart buns, or 3 to 4 inches apart for individually-shaped buns.
  • Proof for an hour in a warm place, covered with a tea cloth, or until doubled in size. The buns are proofed enough if you gently press a finger on its side, and it leaves an indentation. Meanwhile, start pre-heating oven to 200°C (390°F) .
  • Gently brush the top and sides of each bun with remaining egg wash from (2) above. Sprinkle sesame seeds to your desire. Bake at 200°C (390°F) for 15 to 20 mins, or until buns turn a deep golden brown.


Notes on Ingredients and Measurements
All ingredients are measured by weights to allow ease and accuracy for large-batch production.  For example, you can double, triple, or multiply the weights of every ingredient by the desired factor, to get quantities you require for your needs.
Bread improver can be omitted from the recipe, if desired. It is added here as it provides nutrients for the yeast and increases the volume of the dough. It also enhances the texture of the baked buns and extends its freshness. It is highly recommended to incorporate a good quality bread improver when making large quantities of dough for commercial production, or in instances, where you want to improve the shelf life of the baked goods, for instance, for a bakery production. There are many types of bread improvers - some are intended for use in baking crusty breads like artisan breads, and others for soft bread like these buns - so please choose one that is suitable for soft bread production.
Milk and Milk powder enhance the flavour and colour of the baked dough, as well as increases it's nutritional value. It is highly recommended to use whole or full-fat milk powder, wherever possible.
Custard powder contains modified starch which increases or enhances the ability of the dough to absorb water. It can also impart a slightly creamy yellow tinge to the baked dough, making the bun or bread look 'richer'.
The 'Windowpane Test' is done to check if the dough has been kneaded enough. To do this, lightly grease your fingers and palms on both hands with some clean oil. Lop off a small portion of dough, roughly the size of a ping pong ball. Hold the dough between your two thumbs on the top, and your other fingers underneath. Gently tease and stretch the dough until you get a thin, translucent membrane (see photo above). If it tears before you can get there, it means the gluten (protein in the flour) isn't developed enough. If this happens, stick the dough back with the rest in the mixer, and knead for another 2 to 3 minutes, before doing the test again. Keep repeating until you get the 'windowpane'.
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