Finally, one sunny afternoon, while I was quickly trying to escape the mall, I ran across the bakery (Honey Berry) that sells them at the food court! Hurray! I excitedly glanced around looking for things that may appear like the roti buns I've envisioned in my head... quite disappointingly, all I saw were these whimpy looking buns and my thought was... what?! That's it?! All that and these are the oh so glorious roti buns everyone is raving about. How anticlimactic.
Despite its rather unimpressive exterior, I decided not to judge a book by its cover and buy one to taste for myself. I wasn't expecting much but when I bit into it, I was hooked! It was so good! Warm, light, fluffy, and only slightly sweet so its not overbearing, I was shocked. Slightly ashamed I thought they were unworthy. Now we've also confirmed, definitely never judge a book or people or food or anything by its covers. What's inside could be a surprise.
So I don't think I've fully answered the question of what a roti bun is still, but rather just provided a random side story of my personal experiences. So I guess if I had to describe them, they are these simple sweet breads that has a thin coffee crust layer baked onto it and sometimes its stuffed with some sort of butter filling (i.e. chocolate, cream cheese, etc). It definitely doesn't look like anything special but they are quite a treat when you do come across one. They remind me a little bit of Mexican sweet bread, but its not as dense. They also remind me of a Hong Kong bread called pineapple bun but not as sweet. Its somewhere in between those two but if you like either of the breads I've mentioned, you'll like this one.
I've never made bread in my life. It always seemed too labor intense and all that waiting around for the yeasts to do its thing... I guess when it comes to food, I don't like waiting too much. I didn't know this was going to be the case when I set out for this experiment. That'll teach me to leap before looking. Oh well, gotta start sometime, can't avoid breads forever, mind as well start with something fun.
Let me just say, this was definitely no walk in the park! I must've gotten confused and lost at least a couple of times during this whole process... no offense to the person who I got this recipe from... but it was a bit confusing. Perhaps it was not a good recipe for a beginner bread maker to try. As always, when I get lost, I try to make it easier for future others like me to avoid getting lost by adding commentary to the recipe I played with. Good luck!
I will definitely try to make these again, but maybe not this recipe in particular... my results were only mediocre. Though they were still very yummy, they were not the roti buns I've had at the mall...the trials will continue. (Here is another recipe that I'll probably be trying next time: Roti Buns by Misty Yoon)
Taken from Kitchen Corner: Coffee Bun
Makes 10 small buns
(commentary in orange)
For the dough:
- 250g bread flour (roughly 1 1/2 cup)
- 38g caster sugar ( ~ 1/4 cup)
- 3g salt (~1/4 tsp)
- 4g yeast (~1/2 package)
- 1/2 beaten egg (...still don't know if this means 1/2 an egg that's beaten OR 1 egg that's slightly beaten ... I used 1 egg slightly beaten...take your interpretation)
- 135g fresh milk (~3/4 cup)
- 30g butter (~ 2 tbsp)
For the filling:
- 100g butter (softened) (~ 1 stick/8tbsp)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 35g brown sugar
For the topping:
- 50g butter (~ 1/2 stick/4 tbsp)
- 40g icing sugar
- 38g beaten eggs (~ 1/2 an egg)
- 1 teaspoon granulated coffee dissolve with 1 teaspoon water (I suggest 2 tsp because I couldn't taste or smell coffee flavor in mine)
- pinch of cinnamon powder (optional)
- 50g plain flour
- For the filling: using an electric mixer beat the butter and brown sugar until light and pale until the sugar totally dissolved. Add in the vanilla extract for the final beating. Place the mixture into the fridge until it harden (I shaped it into a form that would later be easier to divide before placing it in the fridge to set). Divide the harden mixture into 10 portions and sit in the fridge until ready to use.
- For the toppings: beat the softened butter with icing sugar until everything well combine. Gradually add in beaten eggs then the coffee mixture. Add in pinch of cinnamon powder with the flour and beat everything until well incorporate. Place the mixture into a piping bag and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
- For the dough: knead all the ingredients together except butter. When the dough become a smooth dough add in butter and continue the the kneading process until the dough become smooth and elastic but not sticky (and it was sticky!...just keep going...and I also added some flour in the kneading process to make it less sticky... perhaps the recipe did call for 1/2 an egg after all...). I used a standing kneading mixer to knead for approximately 30 minutes at speed 2 (I did not... maybe that's another reason why my buns weren't exceptionally great).
- Divide the dough into 10 little doughs and shape it into round ball shape. Let it rest for 15 minutes before add in the filling.
- Roll out each doughs to a flat disc and add the butter filling. Seal it tightly. (make sure you seal it tightly otherwise it will split out during baking) (its also safe to make sure not to place the stuffing too close to the edges of the dough either because it will burst while baking...trust me...)
- Place each doughs on a baking tray, make sure they sit a part from each other because they might stick to each other during the baking. Cover the doughs with cling film and proof for 50 - 60 minutes (Mine didn't do much rising during this time, so I suggest either letting them rest longer in step 4 OR let these rest longer than 60)
- Before the doughs place into the oven, pipe out the filling in a spiral start from the top center of each buns. Bake for 12 minutes at 200'C preheated oven. (I baked at 375F degrees for 15 minutes)