Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pastrami and Muenster Cheese Blossom Buns using Tang Zhong Method (湯種法)—With Video Tutorial


I used to love my bread machine, yup, used to!  Technically, it’s my husband’s bread machine.  He already had it when I met him.  So, this machines is 10+ years old!  (Oh, and I still love my husband very very much, in case if you wonder! Open-mouthed smile)  I only used the bread machine to knead the dough for my loaf breads and buns and selfdom use it to bake a loaf from start to finish.  That is because I like to shape the loaf bread myself such as this.  Its very convenience to have the machine because it saves me 15 to 20 minutes of kneading time.  About a month ago, the results of my bread began to varies.  Sometimes they came out wonderful, sometimes they came out awful, and sometimes the dough didn't rise properly.  My husband blamed it on the change of weather!  hahaha….See how cute he is?


On the other hand, I was thinking it could be the problem of the yeast since it’s a new bag that I had just purchased.  So, I did a simple test on the yeast by putting a small amount of yeast in a bowl of warm water along with some sugar.  A little bit to my surprise, it bubbled up nicely in a few minutes.  So, the yeast was alive!  I guess I was kind of hoping it was the problem of the yeast and not the machine because it’s definitely easier (and cheaper) to get a new bag of yeast than a bread machine!  But after the yeast test, I pretty much confirmed it’s the problem of the bread machine!  What am I going to do?  I didn’t want to knead the dough by hand!  And my family is not going to stop eating bread any time soon either.  Luckily, I have my trusty stand mixer to turn to!  Open-mouthed smile


Needless to say, my dough came out nice and pretty.  In fact, much nicer than it was from the bread machine!  So, I’ve been making my bread dough from the mixer since a month ago and couldn’t be happier with the consistent results.  Turn out, there were a few times the bread machines didn’t knead the dough enough for the gluten to develop and the dough came out wrinkle like this instead of smooth and shiny. 


I was in the market to purchase a new bread machine at the beginning.  But after a few batches of beautiful breads using the dough kneaded by the stand mixer, I decided I don’t need a bread machine (at least for now)!  Yay….I can free up some pantry space to store more______(fill in the blanks for whatever you think they might be, hahaha…)


Back to these Pastrami and Muenster Cheese Blossom Buns.  They are beautiful and delightful.  I used the same Tang Zhong bread dough as the base so the buns are soft and fluffy.  I love the combination of smoky flavor in the pastrami along with the mild and smooth muenster cheese.  You can substitute the pastrami with ham, turkey or any kind of sliced meat from the deli and match with your favorite cheese in this recipe.  The picture below shows you the inside of the bun.  Yup, light and fluffy.  And best of all, you get a piece of pastrami and cheese in every bite because of the way I shaped the buns.


Before you go, don’t miss the video tutorial on how to shape these Pastrami and Muenster Cheese Blossom Buns.  They are very simple and easy to make.  Enjoy.

Last but not least, I'm submitting this post to Yeast Spotting!  Check them out and be ready to drool a little!  :)

Pastrami and Muenster Cheese Blossom Buns using Tang Zhong Method (湯種法)
Makes 12 buns (Printable Recipe)

Ingredients For the Tang Zhong 湯種:

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour

To make the Tang Zhong 湯種:
1) In a small/medium saucepan, add the water and bread flour together.
2) With a wooden specula, stir until there’s no big lumps.
3) Turn on the stove to low heat and continue to stir. The dough will start to thicken.
4) When the dough turns slightly translucent and thicken, remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
5) Wrap the Tang Zhong 湯種 with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight before use.

Ingredients For the Buns:

1 recipe of Tang Zhong (see recipe above)
3/4 cup of warm milk* (lukewarm is ideal, please see note below)
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup Japanese Mayo (or regular Mayo if you can’t find the Japanese kind)
6 slices of Muenster Cheese, divided by half
12 slices of pastrami (deli style) divided by half (or use any deli meat you preferred)

Ingredients for the Egg Wash:
1 Beaten Egg
1 teaspoon water

To Make The Buns:

A) Take out the Tang Zhong 湯種 from the fridge at least an hour before use (I usually leave it on the countertop until it's room temperature).

B) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the ingredients in this order: Tang Zhong, warm milk*, salt, sugar, butter, bread flour and yeast.  Start the mixer on low and let the ingredients mix for 15 to 20 minutes.  (I use speed #2 all the way as recommended on the stand mixer’s user menu for dough hook, you might want to double check yours.)

C) Lightly grease your hands and test if the dough is ready by stretching a small portion of the dough.  If it’s elastic and can be stretched into a thin membrane, it’s ready.

D) Grease a large mixing bowl, set aside.  Remove the mixer’s bowl and dough hook from the stand mixer.  With lightly greased hands, knead the dough in the bowl of the stand mixer a few times.  Turn the dough into the greased mixing bowl and form dough into a ball shape.   Turn the dough once so the top is nicely greased and smoothed.  Cover the mixing bowl with a kitchen towel and place it in a warm place to proof for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough doubled in size. 

E) With lightly greased hands, deflate the dough and knead it a few times inside the mixing bowl.  Evenly divided the dough into 12 pieces (I use a kitchen scale for accuracy) and form each portioned dough into ball shape, seam sides down, and place them back into the mixing bowl.  Cover the mixing bowl with kitchen towel and let the dough balls rest for 15 to 20 minutes. 

F) On a lightly floured surface, work with one portion of the dough at a time.  Gently knead the dough a few times. Form it into a smooth round ball.  With a lightly floured rolling pin, gently roll the dough into an 4 by 6-inch rectangle. 

G) Spread about a teaspoon of Japanese Mayo in the center, top with a piece of cheese, followed by a piece of pastrami.  Then, roll the filled dough into a log, seam side down.  With a kitchen scissor, cut 3 slits on the log, evenly spaced the slits.  The slits should be only 3/4 through the dough but not cutting all the way through.  Gently twist the filled dough to have the cut sides facing up.  Place shaped dough into a paper baking cup or silpat/parchment paper lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the rest of the dough and fillings.  Place shaped buns in a warm place to proof second time.  About 45 minutes, or until double in size.

H) Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare the egg wash by beating the egg and a teaspoon of water until well combined.  Gently brush egg wash on top of the buns and bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on wiring rack.

*Note: I warm up the milk a little bit warmer compared to the bread machine because the bowl of the stand mixer could be quite cold and there’s no “keep warm” function on the stand mixer like the bread machine does.  If you knead the dough by hand or with bread machine, using lukewarm milk is perfect.

Instructions with Bread Machine:

**If you have a bread machine, follow step I and then put all ingredients into the pan of your bread machine and turn on to dough setting.  When dough is ready, start from step "E" and continue with the remaining steps.


  1. These buns are beautiful! And the right texture that I love - you know your bread.

    1. Thank you, Belinda. I'm still learning every day. If my bread machine didn't totally break down on me, I wouldn't know them any better than now. :)

  2. Just beautiful and delicious looking! I will def. have to try these : )

    1. Thanks, Jenn. Let me know how they turn out. I'm sure you'll love the recipe.

  3. Those buns are making me hungry, Amy! They look so fluffy and soft - just perfect!

    1. Beautiful photos and video, love the blue wood!

    2. Thank you, Tina. Glad you like these buns.

      @Hoofinity: Thank you, dear. I'm happy that you enjoyed the photos video. About the blue wood, I made them from scratch a while ago! It was one of my photography project. Actually, I need to make a new one soon. Maybe I'll take picture/video on the process.

  4. Gorgeous, Amy! For the Tang Zhong (and bread eventually) can you use regular all-purpose flour...I'm not sure what you mean by 'bread' flour...thanks! Ally :)

    1. Thank you, Ally. About the bread flour, it's the type of flour especially for bread baking which is higher in gluten compared to all-purpose flour (because of the time the wheat is harvested). You should be able to find bread flour right next to the all-purpose flour in the supermarkets. If you don't have any on hand and want to try this bread, you can definitely use all-purpose flour. The kneading time might be a minute or two longer, just to make sure the gluten is fully developed.

      Let me know if you have other questions.

  5. Replies
    1. :) I like to make different type/shapes of breads and buns. It's always fun to try new flavors.

  6. Oh yes, so nice...and so pretty! As always Amy, you amaze me! Perfection! Better store more yeast! ;)

    1. Thank you, Lorraine. :) I'm glad you enjoyed my pictures. Yes, I always have a huge bag of yeast in the fridge....they last much longer than in the pantry.

  7. Hey Amy;
    I Love your Blog!!! I have learned so very much from you in the short period of time in which I have been a member! I LOVE any kind of Asian foods, with a passion!!!
    I am wondering what part of Asia your Family is from orginally? Please, I am not being rude, I am just wondering, as I have been to Japan a couple of years ago and I wish that I could have stayed much longer than the three weeks which I did!!!!! I learned so much, during that trip, and I have continued to learn much more from some other friends in regards to trying to recreate some foods, which we enjoyed so much while there.
    Take Care! :-)
    Sunny C

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment, Sunny. :) Much appreciated. I'm glad you like my blog and recipes.

      I'm originally from Hong Kong, living in Southern California now. So you might found quite a few Chinese recipes here and some fusion ones. I love Japan and Japanese food as well. So, you might also see some Japanese recipes here every once in a while. Again, thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you'll be back often. Take care.


  8. Great video, Amy! Your blossom buns are so beautiful and my mind is already spinning thinking of the different varieties of fillings for them.

    I'm so sorry about your bread machine :( Right now, I don't think I could be without one again but I never had good luck using the dough hook on my mixer.

    1. Thank you. Glad you like the idea and I can't wait to see what filling you'll put inside yours. :)

      There's no biggie for the bread machine. It's probably better that it broke since I've been getting nice dough from the mixer. I'm glad that your bread machine works well for you. Happy baking and have a wonderful weekend.

  9. Excellent idea and an excellent tutorial. Will be making these as soon as possible. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you and I'm glad you like the tutorial. Hope you'll love this recipe as much as my family does. Have a great weekend.

  10. Hi Amy,
    I don't have a bread machine, although I am sure it would be nice, I always use the bread hook for the mixer. Your Pastrami and Muenster Cheese Blossom Buns look beautiful, so light and fluffy and the texture of the bread is just perfect. Your wonderful tutorial will sure help me when I make this recipe, which is going to be soon! Hope you are having a great week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thank you, Miz Helen. It's always nice to hear from you. Yes, I love my mixer with dough hook now...just really reliable with more control on my side. Glad you found the tutorial helpful. Hope you'll love these buns as much as my family does. Enjoy and have a wonderful week ahead.

  11. To get a perfect rise every time you should add your yeast to a small bowl with about a teaspoon of sugar and about 5 tablespoon very warm water, stir and allow to sit for 5 minutes until frothy.

    1. Thanks for your tips, Noor. Much appreciated. Yes, I did it your way before and also the one from this recipe above. Both ways came out wonderful with perfect rise. So, I went with the "short cut" method in this recipe. :P

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