By: Briana Salim
As a 21-year-old with the stamina of a grandma, the lack of naps and the intense energy required to be a full-time employee really got to me - and I’ve only started working for a month now. Don’t get me wrong, I used to have 8am classes, an on-campus job and club meetings on the daily - I would say I made myself pretty busy in college. But something about sitting in front of a monitor, reading emails, answering zoom calls, and being consistently focused for 8 straight hours hits different. Among other things, it makes me extra hungry. It even made me into a breakfast person. Yes, I’ve heard it all before - “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”, “you should never skip breakfast” - and for whatever reason, that used to not be the case for me. But nowadays, I can’t even get through an hour of work without my stomach grumbling and my mind trailing off, thinking of my next snack break.
I’m no longer surprised by the fact that the breakfast menu itself accounts for around a quarter of McDonald’s sales. In fact, I read that it is the company’s most profitable segment of the day. Honestly, I get it. A yummy and filling breakfast is one thing, but having it fast and efficient brings it up to a whole other level. Since it’s probably not the best idea to have fast food for breakfast every single day (both health-wise and financially haha), the next best thing is to meal prep! This week I decided to exercise my proactive muscle and ‘mass-bake’ SOME BREAD - let’s get this bread sisters! It was the greatest decision because little did I know that was going into my busiest week yet. Having one less thing to worry about and a full stomach made it that much bearable.
Here is the recipe I used to bake these coconut and chocolate buns. The recipe is only for coconut buns, but I added some melted chocolate chips on to some of mine for some variation! It reminds me of the bread I used to buy from Asian bakeries back home - so comforting and so so so delicious. I loved this recipe so much; thank you Woks of Life!
Recipe link: https://thewoksoflife.com/inside-hong-kong-coconut-buns/
The Recipe - Inside-Out Hong Kong Coconut Buns
2/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk (I used oat milk)
1 large egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup cake flour
3 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
THE COCONUT FILLING:
1 ¼ cups sweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup milk powder (I skipped out on this because I couldn't find it!)
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter (I used salted butter)
2 egg yolks
2 1/2 tablespoons milk
TOP OFF THE BUNS WITH:
1 tbs sugar (I skipped on this because I didn't want it to be too sweet!)
Add ingredients into a standing mixer in the following order: heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt. Turn the mixer on to the lowest setting to bring the dough together. Knead on low speed for 15 minutes.
Shape the dough into a ball, and cover the bowl with an overturned plate or damp towel. Place in a warm spot to proof for 75-90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.
Prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, mix the coconut, milk powder, sugar, salt, melted butter, egg yolks, and milk. Set aside.
Alterations: I also took some of the filling and added melted dark chocolate for some variation
After the first proof, knead for another 5 minutes. Then dump the dough on a lightly floured surface, shape it into a ball, and cut it in half. Cut each half of dough into 6 pieces, so you get 12 equal pieces of dough.
Shaping the buns: knead and roll a piece of dough into an even ball, and flatten. Roll into a 5×10 inch rectangle. Spread and press the filling into the dough, leaving about a half-inch of margin all around.
Roll the dough lengthwise into a cigar. Cut in half lengthwise, leaving it attached at the top end, so it looks like a long pair of pants. Twist the two pieces together, and then roll into a round spiral/snail shape, tucking the ends underneath the bun. Place onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. You’ll need two baking sheets, with 6 buns on each.
Cover with a damp towel, and proof the buns for 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and place a rack in the middle of the oven.
Brush the risen buns with beaten egg, and bake for 22-26 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven, and while the buns are still warm, brush with sugar solution (I skipped this last step!).
And there you have it! Hope you enjoy this batch of delicious coconut buns!