I’m quite into making bread now, especially after using the 65°C 汤种 tangzhong (water roux) method to make the bacon and cheese bread. Since I’ve got some homemade sweet red bean paste left in the fridge, I made these sweet red bean paste buns a.k.a. anpan. I wanted to sprinkle some sesame seeds on the buns but forgot all about it. Sign of old age!
You can use commercial ready-made sweet red bean paste but I made my own simply because it’s not readily available in Dubai. But the good thing about making your own red bean paste is you get to control the sweetness and texture of the paste.
HOMEMADE SWEET RED BEAN PASTE
- 500 gram dried azuki beans (the ones I found here are labeled Aduki Beans)
- 240 gram firmly packed brown sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
- 5 tablespoon oil, for frying
- Wash the azuki beans and soak them overnight in water. This will shorten the time to cook the beans.
- Drain and rinse the beans the next day. Add enough water to cover the beans and bring water and beans to a boil. Lower to medium-low heat and simmer for a couple of hours until the beans have softened. Stir every now and then and add more water if necessary. The beans are done when they can be easily mashed with a wooden spoon.
- Drain excess water and process the beans in a blender until smooth. I left some beans unprocessed as I want my red bean paste to have some texture and bite.
- Remove the blended beans from the blender and add sugar, salt and vanilla essence.
- Heat oil in a wok and fry the beans on medium-low heat for a few minutes until they form a paste. Add in butter and stir till combined.
- Set aside to cool. You can also store cooled sweet red bean paste in an air-tight container in the fridge. It should last for approximately a week.
SWEET RED BEAN PASTE BUN
- Sweet red bean paste, recipe above
- 350 gram bread flour
- 55 gram caster sugar
- 5 gram (1 teaspoon) salt
- 56 gram (1 large) egg
- 7 gram milk powder, to increase fragrance (optional)
- 125 ml milk
- 120 gram 汤种 tangzhong
- 6 gram (2 teaspoon) instant dry yeast
- 30 gram butter, room temperature and cut into small pieces
- Extra whisked egg for brushing
- Combine all dry ingredients (flour, salt, sugar and yeast) in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients (milk, egg and tangzhong) and add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough then add in butter. I used my electric mixer with dough hook attachment to do the kneading. You can also use a breadmaker or knead by hand. To test if the dough is ready, stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane” and you can get a nice circle when you poke your finger through it, it’s done. Alternatively, you can do the “window-pane” test, i.e. stretch the dough and if you can see light coming through it, it’s done.
- Shape dough into a ball, place it in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Leave it to proof till it’s doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour.
- Transfer dough to a clean, floured surface. Deflate and divide dough into 10 equal portions. I used my electronic kitchen scale to make sure the 10 portions are equal. Shape the portions into balls and cover with cling wrap. Leave aside for 15 mins.
- With a rolling pin, roll each portion into a round shape. Put spoonfuls of sweet red bean paste on top and wrap dough around the paste. The seal should face down.
- Place the filled doughs on a baking tray lined with baking sheet and set it aside for 2nd round of proofing, about 45 minutes to an hour, or until doubled in size. I turned on the oven at this time and set the baking tray on top to speed up the proofing process.
- Brush whisked egg on the surface of the filled doughs and bake in the oven at 170°C (356°F) for 15-20 mins, or until the buns turn golden brown.
- Transfer to a wire rack and let the buns cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or plastic bag.