and this is how I like my red beans
Molecular biologists love genes, and how different gene products interact with each together to generate many of the complex biological processes that keep our body in one piece (or in the case of disease, how all of this falls apart). Why does someone behave in a particular way? It’s because of his or her genetic makeup, some say. Others say there is an equal influence from the environment, or what the individual is exposed to.
I’d like to argue that this is particularly true with first impressions. As a young child in Hong Kong, there were certain smells and sights and sounds that flooded my senses: the freshly steamed rice noodles drizzled with soy sauce, peanut sauce, hoisin sauce and lightly toasted sesame seeds wrapped in paper from the street vendors, the dazzling array of colours from the fruit and vegetable stalls, the constant buzzing and honking from people riding bicycles, buses or taxis, and of course, the aroma of just-baked buns and loaves, wafting from the bakeries.
I’m going to paint in broad strokes and say that Hong Kong bakery-style buns are, in general, very different from those that you can find in European bakeries. True, both place an emphasis on texture and flavour and shaping, but with Hong Kong style buns you’re looking for more pillowy-soft crust and crumb, often flavoured with additional ingredients like coconut or sweet pastes or cubed ham and shaped into individual serving buns.
While I have been on a preferment/sourdough, blistering crust, multigrain kick lately (more on this in future posts), Shiao-Ping’s recent TFL post on Chinese Po-Lo Buns (Pineapple Buns, or 菠蘿飽) evoked memories of these buns that I love so dearly. Some impressions just die hard.
These baked red bean buns (焗豆沙飽) are for those who love Hong Kong bakery-style breads, and for those who sometimes complain that my loaves of bread are “too crackly and crusty.” (“How come they don’t taste softer, like cake?”)
Baked Red Bean Buns
I used the canned, ready-to-use paste but you could definitely make your own:
I divided my dough into eight portions of ~45g each, and shaped them as follows thanks to a great photo tutorial posted by hidehide here:
Add ~1 tbsp of filling:
and shape away!
Now flip the little bun over to the other and smoother side. Your seam should be on the bottom. Using a bottle cap (I used the lid of my container of vegetable oil…), lightly score the top:
That way, you’ll know how far into the bun your six cuts will have to go:
and do the same for the rest of the buns:
Proof for ~30-40 minutes, brush with egg wash, top with sesame seeds and then bake in a preheated 350F oven for 17-20 min until golden brown.
Here’s a closeup:
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This is my submission for Bread Baking Day #22 – Sweet Breads.
I’m sending these to Stefanie at Hefe und mehr for hosting BBD#22, Zorra our lovely BBD founder of 1x umrühren bitte, hidehide for the great shaping instructions, and Susan at Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting.
Update: the round-up has been posted!
Note: Red beans, by the way, are also known by their Japanese name, azuki beans.