Ham & Cheese Buns Using Asian Milk Bread

Ham & Cheese Stuffed Bread Rolls

This is the most fantastic dough recipe! It’s so simple to make and yields perfect, soft, buttery bread every time. You can create a lot of different recipes from the basic dough, including cinnamon and raisin buns, dinner rolls and hamburger buns. The bread created from this dough is called milk bread and is very popular in Asia. If you’ve ever been to Chinese and Japanese bakeries and noticed all the different types of savoury and sweet snacks made from bread (one of the most unique being frankfurters wrapped in bread) this is the dough that is  used. When you first taste this bread you’ll think it’s a brioche dough but amazingly enough it contains no butter – pure genius! These buns are great with a cup of coffee for breakfast or as a snack, you could even make them slightly smaller and serve them as an appetiser. I sometimes replace the ham with mortadella which works really well, as would salami. Even if you’ve never made bread before you’ll be amazed by the professional looking and delicious tasting bread you’ll produce. I wish I could take credit for this recipe but that belongs to my favourite Asian food blog, Woks of Life.

Ingredients – Adapted from Woks of Life

⅔ cup heavy cream (at room temperature)
1 cup, plus 1 tablespoon milk (at room temperature)
1 large egg (at room temperature)
⅓ cup sugar
½ cup cake flour – or ½ cup plain flour with half a tablespoon of the flour replaced with corn flour
3½ cups bread flour or plain flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1½ teaspoons salt
12 slices ham – I sometimes use mortadella or salami
12 slices cheese – I like to use provolone but a good cheddar would also be good
Egg wash: whisk together 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water
Simple syrup: 2 teaspoons of sugar dissolved in 2 teaspoons hot water
Method
In the bowl of a mixer, add the heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cake flour, bread flour, yeast, and salt. Use the dough hook attachment, and turn on the mixer to “stir.” Let it go for 15 minutes, occasionally stopping the mixer to push the dough together. If you’re in a humid climate and the dough is too sticky, feel free to add a little more flour, a couple of tablespoons at a time until it comes together. If you don’t have a mixer and would like to knead by hand, extend the kneading time by 5-10 minutes. After 15 minutes of mixing, the dough is ready for proofing. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and place in a warm spot for 1 hour.The dough will grow to 1.5 times its original size.
Dough for Asian Milk Bread Dough for Asian Milk Bread

After the hour of proofing, put the dough back in the mixer and stir for another 5 minutes to get rid of air bubbles. Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface, and cut it into 12 equal pieces. Roll out each piece into a rough oval/rectangle shape, and lay the ham and cheese on top. Roll everything together into a log, and cut three slits into the top of each bun (about ½ inch deep). Continue assembling until all the buns are made. Cover with a clean, damp towel and allow to rise for another hour.

Ham & Cheese Buns Using Milk Bread Dough Ham & Cheese Buns Before Baking

Preheat the oven to 180C. Brush the risen buns with egg wash and bake for 20-24 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and brush the buns with sugar water to give them great shine, sweetness, and colour.

Asian Milk Bread - Ham & Cheese Rools

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