Soft buns—or soft tea buns—are always a hit no matter when they’re served. For this recipe to succeed, it’s vital that you follow the recipe to a tee; e.g., the yeast and salt must never be added at the same time as the salt inhibits the yeast cells from growing. It’s also important not to add too much flour to the dough, because too much flour means the tea buns won’t be soft, light and delicious. The dough needs to be sticky. The buns taste best when they’re just baked, as they get dreary pretty quickly. But if you keep them in a freezer bag on the kitchen counter, they may well stay soft for a few days. Enjoy!
Soft tea buns (makes about 15)
400 ml water, tepid
50 g yeast
100 g sugar
60 g butter, melted
1/2 tsp. salt
Ca. 850-900 g all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk and 3 tbsp. whole milk, whisked together for an egg-milk wash
Soft tea buns
Put the water in a mixing bowl and dissolve the yeast in it. Add the sugar, 100 g of the flour and the eggs. Knead it together. Now add in a little more flour, and the butter and salt. Knead well and add the rest of the flour a little at a time. Knead the dough until smooth, but still sticky. The dough should be sticky, so don’t add too much flour. Cover the bowl with cling film and a dish towel and leave the dough to rise in a warm place. This kind of dough raises a lot. It needs to raise to 3 times the size. It will take anywhere between 60-90 minutes depending on how warm it is.
Once the dough has risen, switch on the oven to 200 C convection.
Shape the dough into about 15 equal-sized buns and place them on one or two baking trays lined with baking paper. If the dough is too sticky, put some olive oil on your hands and on the surface, so the dough doesn’t stick. Allow the buns to double to size. Brush the buns with the egg-milk wash and bake them for 15-18 minutes. The buns should be golden on top, but watch out as ovens vary. Serve the buns warm. Enjoy!