Delicious Sourdough Chinese cocktail buns soft and fluffy milk buns filled with sweet coconut filling and decorated with sweet toppings excellent breakfast.
What are Chinese Cocktail Buns?
Chinese cocktail buns are called chicken tail buns, or gai mei bao. These are Chinese bakery staple. However, it is made with yeast.
This buns were created in the 1950s in Hong Kong, actually this recipe is made to repurpose the day-old buns in a bakery. The day-old buns were ground up, with sugar and coconut added in, to create a tasty filling mixture; fresh bread dough was wrapped around this mixture to make the first filled “cocktail bun”.
Nowadays these buns are made with fresh ingredients and from scratch and not with re-purposed buns.
Ingredients to make Sourdough Cocktail Buns
This is basically a brioche type dough with sweet coconut filling. I have used 100% sourdough starter , you can use stiff starter also.
You need following ingredients to make buns.
- Flour : I used three kinds of flour in this recipe, bread flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, and cake flour. Bread flour and all-purpose flour for the dough and Tangzhong, and cake flour for filling and pastry lining.
- Starter : You need an active sourdough starter is to make this bread . I have used white flour starter.
- Milk powder : Dry milk is used because it easy to store and easy to use in bulk. Milk also contains an enzyme called glutathione which can weaken gluten and result in a poorer quality loaf – the drying process destroys this enzyme.
- Also, bread will be softer and more tender, and will stay fresher longer, when you use dry milk.
- Unsalted butter : if you are using salted butter make sure to cut back on salt. .
- Sugar – I used both granulated sugar and powdered sugar. Granulated sugar is used in dough as well as in the topping. Powdered sugar is used in the filling.
- Egg – Eggs act as a binder, add moisture and richness.
- Salt :I used sea salt; you can use your favorite salt.
- Milk : used in tangzhong (roux)
- Water : you need only less amount, as water is in the starter.
- Coconut : you need to use desiccated coconut not the sweetened coconut
- Sesame seeds : I have used both black sesame seeds and white sesame seeds.
Step by Step instructions to make Sourdough cocktail buns
First you need to make active starter
Make Tangzhong (roux) using milk and bread flour
Make Bread dough using following ingedients.
Next make filling
Roll the filling into a cylinder
Place the filling into the dough
Roll it into sausage
If you want, you can use custard powder instead of cake flour.
If you don’t want to use sourdough starter you can use instant yeast.
- If you want add egg in the filling to make lightly yellow colored filling.
- You can also add egg in the topping.
Addition of some purple sweet potato to make it a sweet potato filling.
See this sourdough cocoa swirl bread as well as on my website!
Always use a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, that way you avoid spilling.
I like to use this baking sheet for baking my buns.
You can use Kitchen Aid mixer to make the dough and Hand held mixer to make filling and pastry filling
Use a weighing balance to measure the ingredients as well as bread dough which will make uniform buns.
This sourdough cocktail buns will remain fresh in airtight container for 4 days.
You can freeze the buns by individually wrapping. after thawing them. When you are ready to serve reheat them at 300F for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Tips to make perfect Sourdough Cocktail buns
Always measure the flour correctly. I like to use weight in gram so that it will get consistently results every time.
Make tangzhong with milk instead of water. Always use follow 1: 5 flour : milk / water.
You can double the amount of filling to make it sweeter.
Use active white flour sourdough starter to prevent tanginess to dough.
If you try this recipe please tag me @nidhinikhil on Instagram or zestysouthindianktichen on facebook.
Sourdough Coconut Buns (Sourdough Chinese Cocktail Buns)
- 25 g bread flour
- 100 g whole milk
The Bread Dough
- All Tangzhong
- 180 g Bread flour
- 120 g Unbleached all-purpose flour
- 150 g Sourdough Starter all purpose flour starter
- 40 g Sugar
- 3.5 g Salt
- 25 g Water
- 1 large egg
- 60.5 g Unsalted butter
- 75 g Unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 65 g Powdered sugar
- 15 g Cake flour
- 20 g Milk powder
- 50 g Desiccated coconut
- Topping /Mexican batter
Topping /Mexican Batter
- 35 g Cake flour
- 40 g Unsalted butter Softened at room temperature
- 20 g Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Black Sesame seeds
- 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
The Tangzhong (Flour-Water Roux):
- In a medium saucepan whisk together lightly the flour, milk in a saucepan until smooth and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan on the stove, and over medium heat, let the roux cook till it starts thickening. Keep stirring/ whisking constantly so no lumps form and the roux is smooth.
- If you have a thermometer, cook the roux/ tangzhong till it reaches 65C (150F) and take it off the heat. If you do not have a thermometer, then watch the roux/ tangzhong until you start seeing “lines” forming in the roux/ tangzhong as you whisk/ stir it. Take the pan off the heat at this point.
- Let the roux/ tangzhong cool completely and rest for about 2 to 3 hours at least. If not using immediately, transfer the roux to a bowl and cover using plastic wrap. It can be stored in the refrigerator until the color changes . Discard the tangzhong after that.
- In a kitchen aid stand mixer add all the ingredients except the butter knead with dough hook to form a cohesive, sticky mass, 2 to 3 minutes on low speed of a stand mixer.
- Gradually add butter and incorporate about 1 minute on low speed. Once all
- the butter is incorporated, turn the mixer up one speed and knead the dough
- until it is smooth and supple though still somewhat soft and tacky, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Cover the dough and let it rest in a warm (75°F) place for 8 hours . To develop strength in the dough, stretch and fold it in the bowl three to four times during the rest. This will increase the elasticity of the dough.
- Next morning divide the dough into 13 pieces.
For the Filling
- In a medium bowl make filling, add coconut, milk powder, powdered sugar, cake flour and butter. Mix well and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- After 1 hour divide the filling into 13 pieces and roll them into cylinder.
- Spread the dough into oval and wrap the coconut filling to each bun and shape them into sausages.
- Set aside for second proof for about 1 hour or until the dough puff up bit.
- While the dough rising, pre-heat oven to 350F.
For Topping / Mexican Batter
- Make the topping by mixing butter, cake flour, sugar incorporate until you get a piping consistency. Set aside.
- Do and egg wash
- Then pipe the topping mixing using a Ziploc bag or pastry bag.
- Then sprinkle both black sesame seed and white sesame seeds. Then bake the bun at 350 F for 33 minutes or until it registers 195F internally.
- Let cool the bread completely and enjoy
- This is not overly sweet bread. If you want sweet bread, go ahead and increase the amount of sugar in the filling and also double the filling amount.
This is Swathi ( Dr. Ambujom Saraswathy Ph.D) from Zesty South Indian Kitchen who loves to explore cuisines from all over the world. Whenever possible I try to to give an Indian touch to several of the world cuisine, and has weakness for freshly baked bread. All the recipes you see here are created by me and approved after taste-test by my family.