Red Bean Swirl Buns
Is it possible to still feel adrenaline pumping after 4 days? Maybe I should go to the doctor… or maybe I’m just still high on life? I’m going to go with that second option! WOW. What a weekend. I successful taught my first dumpling making workshop on Saturday and it was one of the best experiences of my life! I wouldn’t say that I love public speaking, but I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to publicly speak about something I love so much until now. It was so fun to talk about the foods I love with new friends who also love the same foods!
The morning of, Reuben and I were scrambling to get everything together and organized to drive over to the workshop space. I had a little hiccup and forget some ground chicken after we drove about 3 blocks the down the street, but it’s okay we got it! And arrived at the space just in time! I felt like time was moving so fast. My mind was racing while also simultaneously checking off the millions of items on my setup list. Then all of a sudden it was 10 til 2pm and people started to show up! Real life human people! When most of your job is based on the internet and using your phone, it’s really nice to see real dang human beans. Especially human beans who want to make dumplings with you. Eventually all 11 of my dumpling makers had arrived and we got working! To be honest the following 2 hours were such a blur, but Reuben caught a lot of it on his phone and it seemed like I was speaking english properly and making some sense.
In the weeks leading up to this weekend I was so nervous about how the class was going to go! I just wanted to make sure everyone had a great time. That’s the people pleaser in me. Thankfully, I think everyone had a really fun time and was able to go home with a belly full of dumplings, a container of extra dumplings, and the new acquired skill of pleating the most perfect little dumps : ) Seriously, all of my students were making excellent dumplings in no time! I was one proud dumpling mom. Now I have to get planning on my next workshops! If you want to go to one of my classes make sure to sign up for my mailing list! It’s right on the side of my blog!
Obviously life has been very dumpling centric for a while now, but I don’t only want to be know as the dumpling lady… there are a whole bunch of things I still love to make! When was the last time we made a super fluffy bun together? It’s been a few weeks, but we’re about to change that! I’m sharing a recipe one of my ABSOLUTE favorite Chinese baked goods! Red Bean Swirl Buns! When I walk into a Chinese Bakery there is a 1000000% percent chance I’'m grabbing some sort of red bean bun to take home… or more likely inhale immediately.
What is Red Bean Paste?
If you haven’t had red bean paste before, don’t be turned off when you read the word “bean” and “sweet” in the same sentence. Red beans or adzuki beans are incredibly common in asian desserts. I grew up loving red bean everything! In buns, mochi, and even in this red bean dessert soup… we would get it at the end of our big Chinese family feasts all the time! I think I liked it way more than my brother and cousins. Red bean paste is sweet, a little nutty, and really rich and smooth. I would eat this stuff on toast.
I’ve always wanted to make homemade red bean paste, but it’s so hard to find whole dried adzuki beans anywhere. That’s why when I saw that Bob’s Red Mill sells bags of the great bean I knew I had to snatch them right up and get working on this paste! To make red bean paste you soak the beans overnight to give them a head start and so you don’t have to boil them for a billion hours. Then you boil the beans for about an hour or so, until the beans are soft and tender. You then blend up the beans with some sugar and you got yourself some luscious red bean paste ready for all your baking experiments or just some toast! I’ve also had red bean in popsicle and ice cream form…. that might be my summer experiment!
For this recipe I made my go to milk bread dough using Bob’s Red Mill Artisan Bread Flour and Organic All Purpose Flour and it came out so soft and fluffy! I also taught myself a new way to form pretty buns! I’ll call it the score and twist! It’s really not as hard as it looks. All you do is roll out a portion of the milk bread dough, spread a thin layer of red bean paste, fold and seal it up, cut a few slits, roll up the dough like a candy cane, and twist it into a cute little coil. Pop those babies into the oven and get ready for one of the best treats! There are few things better than a warm red bean bun fresh out of the oven!
Thank you, Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post!
Red Bean Swirl Buns
makes 12 buns
red bean paste:
1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill dried adzuki beans
2 cups water
3/4 cup white sugar
milk bread dough:
1 egg + 1 tbsp water - egg wash
1/4 cup water + 1/4 cup white sugar - syrup glaze (optional)
to make red bean paste:
Soak adzuki beans in water overnight. The next day, drain the beans. Place soaked beans and 2 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover the pot and boil for 1 hour until the beans are soft. Drain the beans, making sure to shake off any excess water. Place the beans in a food processor or immersion blender. Add in sugar and blend until smooth. Place red bean paste in a sealed container and allow to cool. Keep in the fridge until ready to use. The paste will seem a little loose at first, but will firm up once it cools.
to make the buns:
Combine heavy cream, milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch, flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of your standmixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix at medium speed (speed setting 4 for KitchenAid) for 15 minutes until a smooth and slightly sticky dough is formed. Stop to scrape down the sides every few minutes. Once dough is form, place in a large bowl lightly greased with oil. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and allow to rest in a warm place for 2 hours or in the fridge for 18 hours or overnight.
Scrape out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.
Roll out the dough into a roughly 6”x6” square, doesn’t have to be perfect. Spread about 1 tablespoon of red bean paste into a thin layer, leaving about 3/4” clear around the edges of the dough. Fold the dough in half. Tightly pinch the edges closed. Take a sharp knife or pasta cutter and cut 4-5 vertical slits in the dough. Twist the dough into a striped rope and then roll the rope into a coil, making sure the tuck the ends of the dough underneath the bun. Place bun on a parchment paper line baking tray. Repeat with remaining buns.
Cover the buns with a lightly damp kitchen towel and let them rest for a final 45 minutes to proof one last time.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together egg and water for your egg wash. Brush the egg wash over the buns. Place the buns in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.
While the buns are in the oven, combine 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove buns from the oven and immediately brush the syrup glaze over the buns. Allow buns to cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!
Buns are best eaten warm or day of baking. Store leftover buns in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To freshen them up a bit, just microwave for 20 seconds until warm and soft.