- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 (0.25 ounce) packet Red Star Platinum Yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm whole milk
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons honey OR 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg (room temp) plus 1 tablespoons water, whisked together
- MAKE THE TANGZHONG: Add the ingredients to a medium saucepan. Whisk them together until smooth. Place the pan over medium heat (no higher). Whisk constantly. It will take about 3 1/2 minutes to thicken into a smooth paste. At first the mixture will become lumpy. Whisk vigorously and the mixture will become smooth again. Keep whisking until the mixture thickens and looks like a smooth paste. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer and allow it to cool to lukewarm.
- MAKE THE DOUGH: Add the flour and yeast to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- Add the egg to the milk and lightly whisk together with a fork. Add the milk/egg mixture to the Tangzhong in the stand mixer bowl. Add the honey (or sugar), and salt. Then add the flour-yeast mixture. Add the dough hook to the mixer and mix on low speed until the mixture comes together, about 1 minute. Add the butter, one small piece at a time, and make sure each piece is completely incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. If you add too much butter at one time it will not incorporate into the dough. Increase the mixer speed to medium.
- At this point, you’re going to knead the dough for about 10 minutes, maybe a little longer. At first the dough will look soft and shaggy and will stick to the bottom and sides of the bowl. Keep kneading it until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl , clings to the dough hook, and looks smooth and shiny. It should also be slightly tacky but not sticky. This might take up to 15 minutes, depending on how accurately the flour was measured. If the dough remains sticky, sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of flour over it, and knead for about 1 minute and check it again. If it’s still sticky, you might have to sprinkle a little more, but not much more.
- FIRST RISE: Transfer the dough to a bowl that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Spray the top of the dough, then flip it over. Cover the bowl with two pieces of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise in a warm environment until it’s almost doubled in size, 45 to 50 minutes. See my tip above on my rising method. (SEE NOTES BELOW FOR OVERNIGHT METHOD TO BAKE THE NEXT DAY). Place the dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm up. The reason for this is because the dough is very soft and flimsy. Chilling the dough firms it up for easier shaping of the dough balls.
- SHAPE THE DOUGH BALLS: Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper, cut the dough into 16 pieces. To make each dough ball the same size, weigh each piece of dough on a scale. Each piece of dough should be 60 grams. Place a piece of dough in your hand. Using your other hand, pinch the dough together on top as you rotate the piece of dough, making a seam. See picture above in my post. Using the claw method (see notes and pictures above recipe), roll each piece of dough into a tight ball. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place 8 balls on each baking sheet, spacing them apart so they have room to rise. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.
- SECOND RISE: Allow the buns to rise in a warm environment, no warmer than 90 degrees, (see my rising method in my tips in post). Let rise until doubled in size, anywhere from 40 to 50 minutes. Check rolls by poking one lightly with your finger. If the indent remains, the dough is ready.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- BAKE THE BUNS: Gently brush the buns with the egg wash and bake until golden brown and the internal temperature is 190 degrees, about 25 to 27 minutes. You can also thump the bottom of a bun and if it sounds hollow it’s done.
- OVERNIGHT METHOD: In step #5, allow the dough to double in size, punch down, cover and refrigerate overnight. The next day, follow step #6 for shaping the rolls and second rise.
- Prep time doesn’t include rising time. First rise is 45 to 50 minutes. Second rise is 40 to 50 minutes. Also, refrigeration time is 30 minutes if baking them the same day.
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