One of the many tasks that I have set for myself is to try and recreate my favourite foods. London Muffin is a tiny Korean bakery in Koregaon Park, Pune which serves the most incredibly soft bread. Here I discovered a heavenly combination of two of my most favourite foods: custard and white bread.
London Muffin’s Custard Bread is like a soft flat dinner roll which has been folded in half and trapped a generous helping of subtle, milky custard. I wondered if the bread was baked with custard or did they pull out the bread mid-way to fold it up with some custard. So after a few Google searches I came across the recipe for Japanese Cream Pans and I hope the Monthy-Python-esque comedy of a Korean bakery named London Muffin making incredible Japanese Cream Pans is not lost on you.
I found this recipe on Mika’s excellent blog – The 350 degree oven. It takes a bit of effort but the Custard Buns are insanely good. It’s like biting into a soft bunny filled with creamy yummy custard. They look absolutely kickass and anyone who bites into one won’t stop complimenting you.
For the bread
- 2 ½ cups flour
- 2 tsp. active dry yeast
- 4 Tbsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp butter
- ½ cup tangzhong
- 1 egg
- ½ cup lukewarm milk
For the tangzhong
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup water
For the custard
- 1 ¾ cup warm milk
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 5 Tbsp flour
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla essence
Let’s get cooking
So one really easy way of making bread really soft and fluffy is by adding tangzhong which is essentially a Roux or flour-paste. It’s really easy to make. Just mix the flour and water and gently heat in a pan. Soon the flour will start to cook and the liquid will start to thicken. We don’t want to cook the mix completely, we just want a thick paste so remove it from the heat and keep stirring until you have porridge-like consistency. This super-starchy paste is also used to be used for sticking up film posters on the street in India.
We need just half of the paste so you could just chuck away the rest or refrigerate it for making bread or maybe one more round of Custard Buns.
Let’s start on the bread dough. Beat in the egg into the milk and now dissolve the yeast and sugar in the lukewarm milk. Add ½ cup of tangzhong, flour and butter and combine. If you have a stand mixer start off on 1 or 2 for a couple of minutes and then kick it up to 5 for about 5 minutes. You should have soft stretchy ball of dough soon. Rub the inside of the bowl with some vegetable oil and roll the dough around to coat it. Cover the bowl with a shower cap or a damp tea cloth and let it rise for an hour.
In the meanwhile we can make the custard. Whisk the eggs lightly till they combine. Add the flour, corn starch, salt and sugar and whisk. You should get a thick paste.
Make sure the milk isn’t too hot or the eggs will scramble and add 1/3 of it to the paste. Whisk continuously. Repeat twice and add the vanilla essence in between.
Transfer to a thick saucepan and start heating up the custard gently. Stir it continuously, it cooks really fast and you will end up with lumps. Once the custard comes together in a thick paste take it the off the heat and keep stirring.
Want super silky smooth custard? Grab a fine sieve and pass the custard through a couple of times. All your lumps and bumps will disappear and you will amazingly delectable silky custard. Keep this aside before you start sampling it, just a little too frequently 😉
After your dough has risen for an hour punch it down and let rise for another 30 minutes. Flour a surface liberally and take out your dough. Divide it into about 14-18 golf balls. Now here’s how you stuff the custard.
Flatten a ball in your hand. Scoop in a generous amount of custard. Stretch and wrap the dough around the custard. Pinch the sides to fully close it up. Plop it onto a flour dusted tray. Brush them with some warm milk leave them to rise for another 15 minutes.
Bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees for about 20 minutes. For a few minutes you could just turn on your top setting at the highest heat to get a nice lovely brown on the buns.
Little bundles of joy!