Friday, August 25, 2017

How to Make Hawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法

Do you love Hawaiian Buns?  My family is a big fan of these buns!  Today, I want to share this homemade copy cat recipe with you.  After several recipe testing, I have finally ended up with this amazing recipe that our family absolutely loved!  The verdict?  We all agreed that my homemade version is way better than the store bought ones!  After all, it’s quite difficult to beat freshly baked buns that are still warm right out of the oven.  This is especially true since these buns are made with all natural ingredients and packed with amazing sweet aromas!  When you bake these buns, your whole house would smell amazing, like a bakery.  As my Son puts it, these buns are simply irresistible! 

Hawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法

If you had been following my blog for a while, you probably know that I like making bread and buns with the Tang Zhong Method 湯種法.  This Hawaiian Bun recipe is no exception.  Tang Zhong Method is a bread making method that involved a partially cooked dough added into the main bread dough.  This method yields the most amazing soft and fluffy texture of breads and buns.  The most amazing part is that the softness will last for a few days (that is if you haven’t finished these buns by then!)  You can read more about the science behind the Tang Zhong Method by clicking here

Hawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法

For the unfinished portions, simply wrap them tightly in plastic wraps.  To reheat, simply unwrap the buns and heat them up for a few seconds in the microwave.  They will be warm and soft just like they are fresh out of the oven!  If you haven’t try the Tang Zhong method of making bread, I highly recommend that you give it a try.  Once you have done it, you would not go back!  
Hawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法

To give these Hawaiian Buns their tropical flavor, I used pineapple juice in the bread dough.  They are slightly sweet because of the brown sugar and vanilla extract.  There’s no egg in the bread dough, but I added some custard powder to give these buns a hint richness of egg aromas.  I used custard powder quite often in a few of my other recipes.  It’s a more common ingredient in Asia countries.  Unfortunately,I haven’t seen them in the local supermarkets in the States yet and I always have to order them online.  I’ll list the ingredients and tools used in this recipe below this post for your convenience.

Hawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法

Although these Hawaiian Buns are just perfect the way they are, they are even more irresistible if you put a little butter and let it melt in the middle!  Each bite is simply heavenly!  If you are a Hawaiian Buns lover, you’ve got to give this recipe a try and thank me later!  After trying this recipe, you’ll never go back to the packaged version!

Hawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法

Thank you so much for visiting, stay tuned for more fresh and delicious recipe next week!  Remember, Eat, Drink, and Be Happy!

Ingredients and Tools Used:
9X13 Rectangular Baking Pan (Click here for more information)
Infrared Thermometer (Click here for more information)
Wooden Spatula (Click here for more information)
Dole’s 100% Pineapple Juice (
Click here for more information)
Active Dry Yeast (
Click here for more information)
Custard Powder (
Click here for more information)
Dry Milk Powder
(Click here for more information)
Kerrygold Salted Butter (
Click here for more information)
Measuring Spoons Set (
Click here for more information)
Kitchen Scale (
Click here for more information)
Dough/Bench Scraper (
Click here for more information)
Silicone Pastry Brush (
Click here for more information)
Brown Sugar (
Click here for more information)
Stand Mixer (
Click here for more information)
Cooling Racks (
Click here for more information)
Rolling Mat (
Click here for more information)
Rolling Pin (
Click here for more information)
Organic Vanilla Extract (
Click here for more information)
Heat Proof Measuring Cups (
Click here for more information)

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Hawaiian Buns (TangZhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法:
Makes: 20 Buns

Ingredients for the Tang Zhong Dough:
1 cup water
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

Ingredients for the Bread Dough:
1/2 cup pineapple juice, canned
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
6 tablespoons softened butter
1/3 cup (or 1/2 cups, see note below) plus 1 teaspoon brown sugar, divided*
3 tablespoons custard powder
2 tablespoons milk powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ¼ cups All-Purpose Flour, divided (plus more for rolling)
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ingredients for the Egg Wash:
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons of milk, or water

To Prepare the Tang Zhong Dough:
In a small pot, stir together the flour and water until there’s no lumps. Over medium low heat, stir constantly and cook the mixture until it reaches 65C or 159F. The tang Zhong should be thick and slightly translucent. Let it cool completely before use.

To Prepare the Bread Dough:
In a microwave safe cup, warm the pineapple juice for 20 second or until it reaches 110 degree F.  Stir in the yeast and a teaspoon of brown sugar.  Let it stand for a few minutes until bubbly.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, add the cooled Tang Zhong, remaining brown sugar, salt, vanilla, custard powder, milk powder, and 2 3/4 cups of all-purpose flour, mixing until well combined. Turn mixer to dough setting, pour in the pineapple juice-yeast mixture. Beat the mixture for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, add in the softened butter, a tablespoon at a time, alternating the remaining 1/2 cup of flour in between each addition. When all the ingredients are in, beat for another 10 minutes or until the bough comes together and form a ball.

Slightly grease the bottom of a mixing bowl, slight round out the dough and place the dough in the bowl seam side down and covered with a plastic wrap. Let it rest in a warm place until double in size, about 1 hour.

When 1 hour is up, gently knead the dough a few times to deflate the dough. Weight and evenly divided it into 20 pieces. Round each portion into a ball and return the dough balls into the mixing bowl to rest for 15 minutes.

Lightly grease a 9" x 13" rectangular baking pan. Lightly dust a rolling mat and rolling pin.  Gently deflate each portioned dough ball by rolling it flat.  This will prevent uneven bubbles inside the buns.  Round each piece of dough into a smooth ball and space the buns in the pan seam side down. Tent the dough gently with lightly greased plastic wrap.  Let the dough rise in the pan for 50 minutes to 1 hour in a warm place, or until it double in size again.

Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

To prepare the egg wash:
Whisk the egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of milk, brush a thin layer onto the surface of the rolls.  Wait for 5 minutes and brush a second layer of egg wash on the buns.  The double layers of egg wash will give the buns a shiny and golden brown crust.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 190°F on a digital thermometer.  Rotate the baking pan half way through the baking process. 

Remove the baking pan from the oven cool on a wiring rack.
Serve warm and enjoy!

To store unfinished buns, wrap them with plastic wrap and they’ll stay soft for a few days.  To reheat, simple unwrap from plastic wrap and heat in microwave for 8 to 10 seconds for each bun.

Hawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法    http://uTry.itHawaiian Buns (Tang Zhong Method) 夏威夷麵包-湯種法

*Amy's Note: For a more authentic flavor and sweetness level to the packaged Hawaiian Buns, please use 1/2 cup of slightly packed brown sugar.  Since I am trying to control the sugar intake of my family's diet, I usually only put 1/3 cup of brown sugar.  I personally think 1/3 cup is sweet enough.  But if you want the your buns to taste just like the packaged ones, use 1/2 cup.


  1. Tangzhong is my favourite starter to make soft tender bread buns! These look awesome, Amy.

    1. Thank you, Angie. Yes, can't go back to the old way after trying TangZhong!

  2. Delicious, honestly I thought it will be really hard to made but I was wrong, it looks quite easy and I will be trying this out soon. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us

  3. Replies
    1. Please do, it is quite delicious! My Kids ask me to make them all the time!

  4. You left out custard powder and milk powder from the instructions.

    1. Thank you so much for catching that. :) I just updated the instructions and make the correction.

  5. Just found this recipe and want to try it out! I do have some questions regarding subs because of what I have at home.
    1) Can I replace eggs for custard powder?
    2) Can I use unsalted butter and perhaps add a bit more salt (instead of 1 tsp)?
    3)can I make this with instant dry yeast, adding it in with the other dry ingredients?
    4) Can I use raw/turbinado sugar instead of brown sugar (perhaps blitzing it first to make it into finer particles)?

    Sorry for the many questions.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Thank you for checking out the recipe. Here are my thoughts to your questions.

      1) I don't recommend substituting the custard powder with eggs. First of all, the custard powder provides a rich egg yolk and depth of flavor that eggs don't have. Also, adding eggs will make the dough too wet to handle.
      2) yes, you can use unsalted butter and add more salt into the main dough.
      3) Yes, instant dry yeast are fine.
      4) If you use raw sugar, make sure to process it to finer particles so it has a chance to dissolve. And brown sugar has molasses in it. So you might wanted to add some of you have it on hand. The molasses adds depth of flavor and golden color to the bread.

      Happy baking and please let me know if you have other questions.

    2. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

    3. My pleasure to help and you are very welcome!😊

  6. Hi - is there a reason why you do not use bread flour?

    1. I used to use bread flour when I make all my breads. However, I switched to All-Purpose flour because it's more versatile. Instead of having different types of flour, I can use AP-flour for other baked goods such as cookies, pie crust, etc. As long as you get quality AP-flour and knead it long enough, your bread dough still develop the same amount of gluten. And I don't see a difference between the two. But if you have bread flour, by all means use that. Hope it helps.

  7. What and where do you get custard powder.

  8. What and where do you get custard powder.

    1. The custard powder is available in most baking stores in Asia and UK. I usually order them online in the U.S. Here's a link for your reference:

  9. Hi Amy,
    This is the 3rd recipe I've tried and they're all coming out really soupy, wet. This recipe included. Mine doesn't ball up at the 5th minute nor the 10th minute. What I ended up doing was I added flour (additional 2 cups) until it doesn't stick to the sides of the mixer and it starts to ball up. When I go to bake them, the end result is a crumbly bread. Any advice?

    1. There's certainly something wrong if you tried 3 different recipes and they all turned out soupy. I made this bread many times and I know for a fact my recipe for the dough is normal consistency. I am guessing there are a few possibilities:

      1) Your measurement is incorrect (biggest chance).
      Please make sure to use dry measuring cups for dry ingredients, and liquid measuring cups for wet ingredients.
      Example: Dry measuring cups:
      Measuring cups for liquid:

      2) Not cooking the Tang Zhong long enough
      As you can see from my video, the Tang Zhong get quite thick. If you don't cook it long enough, your dough might ended up too wet (but still, shouldn't be so wet that you need to add 2 cups of flour)

      3) Ingredients Issues
      Different ingredients do affect the dough slightly here and there. Such as, I noticed King Arthur's flour has better results than other flour that I tried before. ( And trust me, I've tried many brands out there. King Arthur's flour absorbs moisture better and my bread always baked up more fluffy. And all other ingredients,I try to use the best that I can afford/find. After all, quality of the ingredients do matter in baking.

      I hope I've given you some hints as to what went wrong? Please try the recipe again and I hope you'll be successful next time. Happy Baking. Don't be hesitate to let me know if you have other questions.

  10. is there any substitute for custard powder?

  11. I just wanted to thank you for sharing this recipe. I made it for my family's father's day meal and everyone loved the buns. There were no leftovers! I also had a hard time finding custard powder in Arizona. So I subbed it with Jello Vanilla pudding, same measurements and it worked great!Thanks again!😊