Ham and Corn Taiwanese Homemade Bun (火腿玉米手工麵包)

(Edited October 18 2011)

close up view of the soft and fluffy bread….



3 years after I first wrote this article, I finally discovered a secret to making soft bread that lasts for more than a day. The secret lies in TangZhong, 65 degrees C, also known as the water roux method in some blogs.

The night before you bake bread, prepare a paste call TangZhong. The process of cooking the flour helps retain the moisture.

TangZhong is 1 part of flour to 5 parts of water. It is also known as the 65 degrees C because it is at this temperature that TangZhong is ready. Transfer TangZhong paste to a clean bowl. When it is slightly cooled, cover with a plastic wrap to prevent from drying up. Chill the TangZhong paste in the refrigerator overnight. This paste can be stored up to a few days. (If it turns grey, it is bad, throw it away!) Making TangZhong takes only a few minutes and the results is soft and fluffy homemade bread that stays soft longer.

Here are the ingredients:
TangZhong or Water Roux Starter 湯種
1/3 cup flour
1 cup water
Mix 1/3 cup bread flour with 1 cup water until there are NO more lumps. Put the mixture in a pot and cook over medium heat. I stir continuously with my wooden chopstick. The mixture will thicken. Once you see “lines” in your mixture, turn off the heat.

Bread Dough
2½ cups bread flour
3tbsp+2tsp caster sugar
1tsp salt
1 large egg
1tbsp+1tsp milk powder
½cup milk
half of the tangzhong you made
2 tsp instant yeast
3tbsp butter (cut into small pieces)

Method for preparing the dough:
(1) Put all the bread dough ingredients into the bread machine. Choose the dough setting and press start.

(2) After this cycle (about one hour and 30 minutes) the machine will beep. Remove the dough from the bread machine and place onto a silpat. Divide the dough into 10 equal portions. Shape into bun-like shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.

(3) Flatten each bun, add cheese slice, roll, cut and fold (as shown on pictures above). Do not top the ham and corn yet at this time. Arrange the buns on silpat and cover with a cling wrap. Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 30 minutes.

(4) After 30 minutes, the bread is ready for its topping. Brush whisked egg white on surface. Spread corn, ham and mayonnaise mixture onto each bun.

(5) Bake in a pre-heated 375F oven for 13 to 15 minutes (reduce to 350F the last 5 min). Remove from the oven.

related article: Hokkaido Bread

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22 Comments

Filed under Asian Snacks, food, hipfood

22 responses to “Ham and Corn Taiwanese Homemade Bun (火腿玉米手工麵包)

  1. alice

    Wow! Better than those in the bakery !Did you use a bread making machine? I don’t have one and it’s too hassle for me to make bread. I wish for you to move next door to me! :D

  2. “Cottony” is a great description — they look so fluffy and yummy in the first picture.

    I completely agree with what Alice said… wish you were just next door to me. Even if I can’t try your cooking/baking, at least I’ll be able to smell the wonderful aromas… :D

  3. wmw

    Oh, look at those! Now you have another person on the list who wants to live next door to you….hahaha

  4. Dear Alice,
    I used a bread machine to prepare the sweet dough. After the first fermentation, I took the dough out, divide them into individual balls, shape and prepare them for topping. It is still possible to make these buns without the machine. Mix all the ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl. When the rough dough has been formed, rub the butter in. Continue to knead and rub until the dough is as soft as the baby’s bottom. I use my bread machine more to prepare doughs than actually baking breads. The non-stick interior makes cleaning easy as well. If it is expensive to eat rice, homemade bread is a good occasional substitute.

    If I move next door to you, we can trade foods. :)

    Hi Kenny,
    Thanks for your encouragement. You have a gift of bringing the best out of your friends.

    Are you sure you want me as your neighbor? You see, the wonderful aromas from fresh homemade breads also come with occasional noise from my 3 girls. :)

    Dear WMW,
    It will be fun living next door to you. You will bring me gifts from all over the world and tar pau’s from different restaurants.

  5. The corn and ham dotted bun looks incredibly wholesome and yummy, Mrs HBT. I can taste it in my mind’s mouth — I want to be your daughter!

  6. that looks fantastic Lee Ping! now you won’t go to any bakery anymore since yours is definitely better!

  7. Oops, wrong timing. Shouldn’t have dropped by just before lunch. LOL!

    Nothing like freshly baked buns to whet the appetite.

  8. Is it your birthday, Mrs HBT? Well, then, many happy returns of the day. These are quite the best years of your life, aren’t they? ^_^ Loving husband and family, and lovely and adorable children.

  9. Dear Argus,
    You have given my bun a fancy name, Corn and Ham Dotted Bun! I like that. You can taste it in your mind’s mouth? That’s great. Looks like my attempt to show how soft the bread is, has succeeded.

    Hi Kenny,
    Looking at the number of friends you have, your calendar must be filled with birthday reminders, right? However, it is still so sweet of you to take the time to write me a note. Thanks!

    Dear Eliza,
    Thanks for coming by!

    When we first moved to Portland, we used to drive 5 hours to Richmond, Vancouver B.C. And bring back Taiwanese buns. Later when Meianna at Fu Bonn opened, we were there almost every weekend. You are right, we seldom go to bakeries now. My husband said that my buns tastes better than the store’s. He told me he has never eaten a hot dog bun where the juices flow out from the hot dog. Freshness is one of the benefits of baking buns at home.

    Hi Jonzz,
    Wrong timing? Well, at least now, you know what to order for lunch. Hope all is well with you. Have a good week ahead, OK.

    Dear Argus,
    Yes, it was my birthday (May 25). My girlfriends took me out for a fancy lunch this afternoon to celebrate my birthday, as Little Chicken was ill last week.

    These are indeed the best years of my life. I am more thankful than ever. I thank God for my ever forgiving parents. Mostly, I thank God for my 3 girls, I pray that I will be a good role model for them. I also thank God for my husband, if it were not for him, I would probably not have a prayer life or a personal relationship with God.

  10. Pingback: Hokkaido Milky Loaf Bread (北海道牛奶土司) « Stream in the Hip Desert 新荒漠甘泉; Hip Food

  11. wow..those buns look heavenly!…how wonderful to bake your own..:)

  12. mrshbt, wow, I’m glad I came by. I’m definitely going to try this out. Thanks!

  13. Dear Srivalli,
    Indeed, the Buns look, smell and taste “Heavenly” delicious. It is very rewarding to bake our own breads, especially when they turn out so well. I have still yet to try making the Indian breads on your blog.

    Dear Lydia,
    Thanks for taking time from your busy schedule to leave me a comment. And such an honor to get a personal comment from the famous writer herself. Really looking forward to seeing your book, “Honk, if you are a Malaysian” in the US’s bookstores soon.

    Since I received your comment about trying this recipe out, I have added a few more notes. I also double checked the recipe making sure that the weights and ingredients are all correct. It is good to go.

    I heard that rice in Asia is more expensive now. Although bread is no substitute for rice, it is a good alternative. Ham and Corn Bun has protein, fiber and carbohydrate. It makes a great snack for kids, a convenient lunch for busy Moms and most of all it freezes well for future use.

    I make 6 big buns or 12 smaller buns from the above recipe. If we don’t finish all of the buns, I wrap each baked bun in a plastic wrap and put them in the freezer. Frozen buns can be defrosted over night. And the next day for breakfast, wrap in aluminum foil, reheat in the oven and the bun will taste like fresh bake.

  14. this is defintely my type of bun, looks so light, healthy and what more DELICIOUS! wow did I say that? yes I did! :)

  15. Hi BBO,
    What a pleasant surprise! Thanks for your lovely comment. I am not sure if you ever been to Taiwan. At every street corner, there is a bakery shop and they do so well. If you ever want to expand your business, look into making buns.

    There are desert buns as well. I have tried coffee doughs as dessert buns, such as walnut buns and braided raisin buns topped with sliced almonds.

    You boys are very talented. I am sure you will be able to churn out something beautiful and delicious.

  16. Wow, this looks like something that would be a hit in our house.

    Thanks for sharing and I’m bookmarking this one to make real soon.

  17. Pingback: Home made bread - lovely! « Linda’s Cuppapoint

  18. babybunny

    Hi! Love the buns you made. Quick question. I, too, am going to use the bread machine to make this. When do I add the butter? Also, do I only go through 1 series of dough kneading in the bread machine. I have read elsewhere they they go through 2 series. Thank you.

  19. Hi Babybunny,
    Mix the bread flour, yeast, milk powder, water, sugar and salt. Add egg. [Start the bread machine on dough setting. ] When the dough is formed, add butter. [Carefully, I use the rubber spatula to scrape down any extra mixture on the side of the bread pan.] By the way, it is OK, to open the lid to peek at your dough. I often do, especially during the kneading process and if necessary take my rubber spatula to gently give the machine a hand to scrape down the sides. When it has finished kneading, I simply close the machine’s lid and walk away. At this time, if I want to peek, I will peek through the small window on the lid.

    If I select the dough setting, it will go through a couple series of dough kneading. I am not sure if that is similar to what you have been reading. The dough setting is what I choose and I only select it once to prepare my dough. After I select the dough setting on the bread machine, it will start the kneading, punching etc. I think it will stop for a few seconds between kneading. Perhaps that is the transition from first series to second series? Then it will stop and let the dough rise at a controlled temperature. At this time, I leave the dough in the bread machine to rise. When time is up, the machine will beep. I take the dough out and start dividing the dough up to make my individual buns.

    There was a time when I forgot to scrape the mixture from the sides. That was when I had to stop the bread machine and start the kneading process again. A good friend of mine told me once that dough loves to be knead. I guess it doesn’t hurt if we over-knead the dough just make sure that we don’t over-rise the dough. Over risen dough will have a yeasty smell.

    Hope that helps.

  20. Tina

    This recipe creates mouth watering chicken ham bun. Cheese flavoured chicken ham was used as filling. To make the dough softer, I added some mashed potatoes into the dough. This additional ingredient will enhance savoury flavour in this bun and make the bun taste creamier! I baked the bun with oval pie tin , therefore it create distinctively oval shape, which is something you can’t get else.

  21. Clueless

    I’m never any good in the kitchen but I must try my hands at baking these yummy looking buns. Maybe I can involve mum or the kids in the kneading process…?

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