Remember those soft, soft bread rolls from the coffee shops or the old fashioned bakeries? They almost melt in the mouth. These are not your fancy, fancy recipe, but requires no elaborate machine or expensive tools.

Back to the good old days of baking where the baker just churns out rolls and roll of buns with simple taste and soft soft texture. The same buns I grew up with, the same buns we get to eat at those set-lunches at coffee houses where one warm roll with cold butter is all that takes us to heaven.

Simplified, this version requires no machine (since I could not find my dough hook) and no long waiting hours. Just old fashion bread making methods that my father would deploy.

If there’s only one Asian bread recipe you want to memorise, use this one. Easy to make, easy to learn, and easy to eat.

Old-fashioned Sugar Bread Rolls

Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 15 mins
Servings 9 buns


  • 160 g full-cream milk at 35C
  • 3/4 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 275 g bread flour
  • 25 g corn flour
  • 50 g fine sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk powder
  • 25 g beaten egg
  • 30 g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt



  • Add the yeast to milk and let it activate and froth for 15 minutes.
  • Mix all the ingredients except the salt and butter, and then add the yeast mixture to it.
  • Stir in one direction until the dough pulls from the sides of the bowl.
  • Cover and let it sit (autolyse) for 20 minutes.


  • Knead using slamming method until dough is smooth and gluten formed. About 5 minutes.
  • Add the butter and salt, then continue to knead until window pane stage. Should not be more than 15 minutes. Here's where you cannot be an over achiever. If you want to get that hand-glove window pane and fail to do so in 15 minutes, but the dough passes the window pane, move on. Otherwise your dough will oxidise and you'll get the 'bubbled' over-knead bread. Not nice and won't stay soft for more than an hour.
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl, spray top with water and cover to rise until double. About 1 hour.
  • Then shape and/or fill with whatever you desire.
  • Proof for another 45 minutes or until the dough becomes 2.5 times its size (if your filing is cold, you might need to increase the time). I put it into my steam oven and set it to 38C, perfect for proofing breads.
  • Bake at 180C for small breads for 15 minutes, and 170C for 25 minutes for loaves.
  • Your bread is done when 2/3 of the bottom and the 'waist' of the bread are slightly brown.

Watch the video on how to knead bread most effectively. That’s how I do it, but I use one hand instead. Effectively, about 100 times before you add the butter and salt, and another 500 times after the butter is added. It should reach the window pane by then. 🙂 Naw… it is not as hard as it looks. And much more effective than the machine.

I proofed the bread to 2.5 times its original size.

This picture shows half way through the proofing

This loaf is heavenly!

This is what I have been waiting for!!!!

Nah… lots of filings. 🙂

Old-fashioned Coffee Shop buns. Super soft and super good, and super easy.

If you want to discuss this recipe or take a free online baking class, please join us at . Don’t just learn how to follow recipes, learn how to bake. 🙂

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