Red Bean Buns – Danpat Bbang (Vegetarian)

Serves 8 (16 buns)

I used to buy Korean pastries and buns at the local Asian grocery store until I discovered this wonderful, quick and delicious recipe for red bean buns.  The recipe for the bun is so versatile that you can replace the red bean paste with anything from mango curd to custard.  Decrease the sugar level and stuff with spinach and feta cheese for an easy Greek style appetizer or stuff with potato masala for a great tasting Indian dinner roll.  If you have a stand mixer or a bread machine it becomes even easier to make these buns.  This post will feature the ‘flower’ bun as traditionally made using this recipe, but you can make any shape you want as long as the red bean paste is well sealed inside.  Follow the step-by-step pictorial to ensure the perfect red bean buns every time!

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Red Bean Buns – Recipe

Source: Aeri’s Kitchen

Ingredients

  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. instant dry yeast
  • 1½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • ⅔ Cup lukewarm water
  • ⅔ Cup lukewarm milk
  • ¼ Cup butter, melted  (and more for brushing)
  • 1 can sweet red bean paste (available at Asian supermarkets)
  • 2 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)

Instructions

Sift flour into a big bowl, make a well in the centre and add the sugar, yeast, salt and cover with flour from the sides.  Pour in lukewarm water and lukewarm milk and mix together until dough just starts to come together.

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Make a well in the dough and add melted butter and knead dough until smooth and elastic.  It will take about 5 – 7 minutes in a stand mixer with the hook attachment on setting 2.  You can also use a bread machine to knead or knead by hand for 15 minutes.  The key to a soft and light bun is in the kneading so don’t skimp.

Form dough into a ball, place back into the bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place, such as an oven with the light turned on, for 1 hour.

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When dough has sufficiently risen, remove to a clean work surface, punch down to remove any air inside.

Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and as you work on one of the pieces at a time keep the rest well covered under plastic wrap to prevent drying.

Form piece of dough into a round ball, flatten or roll out until it is about 3 inches in diameter, scoop out 1 Tbsp. of red bean paste and place in the center.

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Fold the dough up and over the red bean paste to cover it until it resembles a small bundle. Seal tightly and place seam side down under plastic wrap.  Repeat until all the dough pieces are similarly done.

Working with one bundle at a time and keeping it seam side down, press down or roll out to about a 2 inch diameter circle.

Cut 4 3/4 inch decorative slits around the edge in a north, south, east, west direction and 4 more slits evenly spaced between the first four until 8 ‘petals’ are visible making sure not to intersect the slits so that the centre remains whole and the ‘flower’ remains one whole piece.

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Place on a parchment lined baking tray and repeat step 10 until all the bundles are done and placed few inches apart on baking trays.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and allow the dough to rise 15 minutes so that the bun can expand.

Brush butter on top and place a little bit of sesame seeds on the center of the dough and gently press down to help them stick to the dough.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Remove from oven and brush with more butter if necessary to give each ‘flower’ red bean paste bun a glossy look.

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Enjoy for breakfast, with tea or as a snack any time.  It’s so delicious and soft and presents so well that no one would believe you made it at home.  Replace red bean paste with a savory stuffing and serve as an appetizer before dinner.

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