Ever since I tasted the delicious buns from Furama Cake & Dessert Garden on Spadina in Toronto's China Town....I've been thinking about trying some similar recipes. I had book marked a few blogs of interest to me and I finally got around to trying some. A few of the recipes I wanted to try contained tangzhong starter which is a cooked paste of 5 parts water and 1 part flour by weight. Flour and water are mixed together in a pot and heated just until it reaches 150 F. Then it is cooked and whisked for 1 more minute making sure to get all the lumps out. Then it is removed from the heat and and cooled to room temperature. Once at room temperature it is ready to be added to the recipe. Left over amounts can be stored for a few days in the fridge. Making the tangzhong is so quick and easy that I like to make just a tiny bit more than called for in the recipe as I can not be sure I'll use up the left overs quickly enough. The point of the addition of this 'starter' to the dough is to create a more moist and elastic bread. And I can say that it produced an absolutely beautiful dough.
First I tried a recipe using whole wheat and white flour recipe from Dodol & Mochi to make the Ham and Cheese Buns pictured above and then I tried a recipe from Grace at Kitchen Corner for her delicious looking Cheese Sticks.
I really liked both recipes and will definitely be making them again as they will be perfect for Ike's lunch box. To see the shaping instructions for the Ham and Cheese Buns have a look at the photos here and there is a very cute alternate shape as well. For the Ham and Cheese Buns...I made a longer cut.......about 1/2 inch or less away from the ends so the buns would open up more and look more like the ones from Dodol & Mochi.
I found the recipe at Dodol & Mochi need a bit more liquid than as written (it was pretty dry for sealing) and the rise time I needed was a bit longer.....probably much cooler in my kitchen than hers:) Both recipe get two thumbs up from me and both can be made in the bread machine and hand shaped before baking if that makes it easier and in my case less messy. Do make sure that for either recipe you allow enough proofing time for the dough to double in bulk. And keep in mind that breads containing whole wheat need to bake to a temperature of 205-210 F where as white breads are done at 190-200 F. For the Ham & Cheese Rolls...I preferred the sweet chili sauce to the mustard and I bet pizza sauce would be great too......maybe even Ham Cheese and Pineapple Buns......hmmm Something else to try now!