The milky sweet filling of these Coconut Buns makes them so tasty and flavorful. These buttery buns are wonderful warm treats to fill you up anytime!
Baking day is always exciting for me. Each week, I have two days allotted for baking and in the morning of the scheduled day, my eyes open with delight as I anticipate the day’s “task” and especially the baked good that’s gonna come out of the oven.
While I love baking in general, the excitement is incomparable when it is a scheduled day to bake bread. I love making bread and lately, I find kneading by hand so therapeutic and fulfilling.
While kneading the dough for these coconut buns early in the morning, I swear I felt like I am a bread lady in the neighborhood bakery, early at work, in an apron, kneading away in solitude in the dim light of our basement.
Then later in the day, I basked in the deliciousness of these coconut buns, especially in the very tasty filling that clings on the inside of the tasty bread. Everything in this bread is deliciously tied together in flavor.
The dough is from the recipe Japanese Milk Buns, which are tasty and very soft. It uses a starter or what is called a tangzhong which is a simple mixture of milk, water, and flour cooked together to form a paste.
Then you mix that starter with the rest of the dough ingredients to form a soft, shaggy mass of dough.
Make the Bread Dough
Combine the yeast, the warm milk and 1 tbsp of the sugar in a mixing bowl. Allow this to foam up, about 5 minutes. Mix in the tangzhong, the remaining sugar, melted butter, egg, salt, and the milk powder. Add the flour and stir everything until the dough comes together in the center of the bowl.
If the dough is still too wet, you can sprinkle a little flour at a time just until it comes together. Turn the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead.
Kneading the Dough
- As you knead, the shaggy and sticky dough will be less sticky and will gradually turn smooth.
- A well-kneaded dough is elastic and can stretch thinly. The windowpane test is my indicator and assurance that the dough is ready. Take a small portion of dough, stretch it outward using your fingers as if to form a square. The dough should stretch so thin that the middle is translucent.
Let the dough rise inside a bowl, covered, for 60-90 minutes until puffy. Then gently punch it down and divide it into 11 portions. Shape those portions into balls and flatten each with your palms to form ovals.
Spoon and spread enough filling into the surface.
Then, roll each into logs starting on the long side. Seal the seams and the ends and tuck them under.
Arrange them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and let them rise, covered loosely with a plastic wrap or kitchen towel, for 50 minutes.
Once they are ready, preheat the oven to 350 F and brush the surface of the buns with beaten egg. Place two strips of topping near both ends of the buns. Bake them for 25 minutes or so, until they are lightly golden.
One thing you should not skip: Brush runny honey on top of the warm buns after baking.
Coconut Buns: Pointers and Tips
- To make the filling and topping, the butter should be really soft, to the point of being warm. Take the butter out early ahead.
- To make strips out of the topping, you can either put it in a piping bag and pipe them on top of the buns or if your mixture turns out to be stiffer, roll small portions into strips against a floured surface.
- To make runny honey, pour a few teaspoons on a small microwavable saucer and heat for a few seconds at a time.
These buns can be stored at room temperature in a covered container for 2-3 days. You can heat them up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds to eat the leftovers. Personally, I don’t think these coconut buns will last that long.
Want more bread, you are in a good place!
- Japanese Milk Buns
- Milk Bread
- Soft and Buttery Sugar Buns
- Pandesal ( Filipino Bread Rolls)
- Chocolate Brioche
Coconut Buns with Milky Sweet Coconut Filling
These flavorful buns are filled with a tasty, milky filling and topped with a buttery sweet topping.
For the Bread: Tangzhong
- 3 tbsp whole milk
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
For the Bread: Dough
- 2 and 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tbsp whole milk powder
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup whole milk warmed to 105 F
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup melted butter unsalted
For the Filling
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter very soft, warm
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 3 tbsp cake flour
- 1/4 cup milk powder
- 1/2 cup dried coconut flakes unsweetened
For the Toppings
- 1/3 cup cake flour
- 3 tbsp softened butter very soft
- 4 and 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 egg for brushing the buns
- 4 tsp runny honey for brushing the baked buns
- coconut flakes for sprinkling on top of the baked buns
Make the tangzhong: In a medium saucepan, whisk together the flour, water, and milk until the flour is dissolved. Heat the pan over medium heat and stir continuously until mixture turns into a thick paste. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine warm milk (105-115F), 1 tbsp of the sugar, and the active dry yeast. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes, or until foamy. Mix in the tangzhong, the powdered milk, egg, melted butter, the remaining sugar and the salt. Use a wooden spoon to stir everything together. Add the flour and stir well until a soft, shaggy dough is formed. If the dough is still too wet, sprinkle a little amount of flour, just until the dough comes together.
Turn dough over onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 12-15 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Flour your hands and the surface as needed to prevent the dough from sticking as you knead. The dough will be less tacky and can stretch thinly when you take a portion and stretch it with your fingers.
Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 60-90 minutes, until puffy.
Punch dough gently and divide into 11 portions. Form them into balls and use your palms to flatten them into an oval shape. Spoon about 1/2 -1 tablespoon of filling into the oval dough and spread evenly across the surface. Roll them starting on the long side. Pinch the seams to seal and tuck both ends under to seal the edges as well.
Arrange the assembled dough in a large baking tray that is lined with parchment paper. Let these rise, covered loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, for 50 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the surface of the buns with beaten egg. Shape the topping mixture into strips by rolling small portions against a surface to elongate them ( or put the topping mixture in a piping bag and pipe onto the buns). Place strips of the topping near both the ends of the buns. Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden. Brush the baked buns with runny honey, avoiding the strips. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top.
To Make the Filling:
Combine and stir all the ingredients in a medium bowl until a paste is formed.
To Make the Topping:
Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth.