Stop browsing the bakery section at the Chinese grocery store for these Asian Coconut Buns, because now you can make them at home. And these homemade buns are way better, I promise you.
I love all things coconut, and these Asian Coconut Buns are no different. These go way back to my teen years when I would go grocery shopping with mom at Vietnamese and Chinese grocery stores. We would almost always picked up some Asian bread or coconut buns for the next day breakfast. Then during my time at university in Irvine, Ryan and I would frequent JJ Bakery for some Anpan (Red Bean Buns) and Asian Coconut Buns almost every week. It’s somewhat nostalgic to think back to those days and how amazing that simply bread can bring back so much memories.
Asian Coconut Buns Recipe Tips and Tricks
- For this recipe, I uses Brioche dough as the base for the bread. Another great bread to use for the base would be this Milk Bread.
- This is one recipe I would recommend making with a stand mixer due to the longer kneading time. Or you can also successfully make this using a hand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
- Always bloom active dry yeast to make sure it is working. If the yeast mixture doesn’t puff up when bloom, it is best to redo this step until you get an activated yeast mixture. Otherwise, your dough will not rise.
- Rising time can vary, depending on the environment: temperature, humidity, barometric pressure. The dough will rise faster in warmer weather compared to colder weather, in higher altitude compared to lower altitude, etc. But it will rise, it will just take time and patience.
These Asian Coconut Buns keep well at room temperature for a few days in an air tight container. However, if the weather is really warm, it’s best to store them in the fridge and toast them in the oven before serving, they will taste like freshly baked buns.
Asian Coconut Buns
For the Brioche Dough
- 3 large eggs
- 2 - 3 tablespoon of milk
- 2 teaspoon of active dry yeast
- ¼ cup of granulated sugar - divided
- 2 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 4 ounce unsalted butter
- Extra flour
For Coconut Paste Filling
- 1 ½ cup desiccated coconut flake (unsweetened)
- 1 cup powder sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 - 2 tablespoon coconut oil
- A handful of raisins
For Egg Wash
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon of water
For the Brioche Dough
- Cut the butter into ½” cubes and let soften at room temperature.
- Leave eggs and milk out on the counter to come to room temperature as well.
- Mix together 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle the active dry yeast on top. Let it bloom for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the rest of the sugar, flour and salt in a small bowl and whisk to evenly distribute.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, lightly beat the eggs and add the bloomed yeast mixture along with the flour mixture to it. Use the dough hook to knead on low speed (speed 2) for 15 minutes.
- Check occasionally to see how your dough is looking, if it is too dry, sprinkle in the rest of the milk. By the end of 15 minutes, it should pull away from the side of the bowl.
- Leave the mixer on speed 2 and add the soften butter, a few pieces at a time, allowing it to combine with the dough before adding more. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Then let the mixer knead for another 10 minutes.
- Dump the dough out on a lightly floured counter and shape into a ball.
- Place dough into an oil glass bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 - 2 hour until double in size.
For Coconut Paste Filling
- Add coconut flake and powder sugar in a small mixing bowl and mix with a whisk to distribute evenly.
- Add the egg and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mix until a paste form. If it seems dry, add another tablespoon of coconut oil and combine thoroughly.
- Refrigerate until ready to use.
Form the Coconut Buns
- Dump the dough out onto the lightly floured counter, divide into 6 equal portions, knead into balls.
- Roll each ball into a 4”x6” rectangle, spread 3 tablespoons of coconut paste evenly all over the dough. Roll this into a log and cut in half length wise leaving about half an inch intact at one end. Twist the two sections into a braided bun. Press a few raisins into the exposed filling.
- Place the buns on a parchment lined baking sheet with enough space in between and allow to rise until double in size and supple looking, about 1 - 2 hours.
Bake the Buns
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Beat an egg with a tablespoon of water to make egg wash, and brush all portion of exposed dough with egg wash very lightly.
- Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.