Chinese Bakery Bread Recipe: How to Make Soft and Fluffy Buns at Home – Seaco Online
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Chinese Bakery Bread Recipe: How to Make Soft and Fluffy Buns at Home

Are you a bread lover and want to explore a variety of recipes from different cuisines? Well,  Chinese bakery bread you must add to your list. This type of bread is known for its soft texture and slightly sweet flavour, making it the perfect addition to any meal or snack.

A baker mixes flour, water, and yeast in a large bowl. The dough is kneaded until smooth, then left to rise before being shaped into various breads

Chinese bakery bread comes in many forms, including loaves, buns, and rolls. One of the most popular types is Hokkaido milk bread, which is made using a unique technique that involves creating a roux-like mixture called tangzhong. This mixture helps to create a soft, tender crumb that is perfect for sandwiches or toast.

If you're interested in trying your hand at making Chinese bakery bread, there are a few essential ingredients you'll need, including bread flour, milk powder, sugar, and yeast. From there, the process involves preparing the dough, shaping and baking the bread, and storing it properly. With a little practice, you'll be able to create delicious Chinese bakery bread that rivals anything you can find at a bakery.

Key Takeaways

  • Chinese bakery bread is known for its soft texture and slightly sweet flavour.
  • Hokkaido milk bread is a popular type of Chinese bakery bread that uses a unique technique involving tangzhong.
  • To make Chinese bakery bread, you'll need essential ingredients like bread flour, milk powder, sugar, and yeast, and you'll need to follow a few key steps to prepare, shape, bake, and store the bread properly.

Understanding Chinese Bakery Bread

A baker kneads dough, then shapes it into round buns. The buns are placed on trays and baked in a hot oven. A delicious aroma fills the air

History and Culture

Chinese bakery bread has a rich history and culture that dates back to ancient times. It is believed that the art of baking bread was introduced to China by foreigners during the Tang Dynasty. Since then, Chinese bakers have been perfecting their craft, creating unique and delicious bread recipes that are enjoyed all over the world.

In China, bread is often served as a breakfast or snack food, and it is typically sweet or savoury. Chinese bakeries are known for their wide variety of breads, which range from soft and fluffy milk bread to crispy and flaky pineapple buns.

Types of Chinese Bakery Breads

There are many types of Chinese bakery breads, each with its own unique flavour and texture. Here are some of the most popular types:

  • Milk Bread: This soft and fluffy bread is a staple in Chinese bakeries. It is made with tangzhong, a type of roux that gives the bread its signature texture.

  • Pineapple Buns: These sweet buns are named for their pineapple-like appearance. They are made with a crispy, crumbly topping that contrasts with the soft bread inside.

  • Char Siu Bao: These steamed buns are filled with savoury barbecued pork. They are a popular dim sum dish and can be found in most Chinese bakeries.

  • Hot Dog Buns: These buns are filled with hot dogs and topped with ketchup and mustard. They are a popular snack food in China and can be found in most Chinese bakeries.

To add a seafood twist to your Chinese bakery bread, you can try using shrimp or crab meat as a filling for your buns. The sweetness of the seafood will complement the savoury flavours of the bread, creating a unique and delicious taste.

Essential Ingredients

A table with flour, yeast, sugar, and water. A mixing bowl and a wooden spoon. A warm, cozy kitchen with natural light

When it comes to making Chinese bakery bread, there are a few essential ingredients that you'll need to have on hand. In this section, we'll take a closer look at some of the most important ingredients and discuss their role in the bread-making process.

Flour Varieties

The type of flour you use will have a big impact on the texture and flavour of your bread. For Chinese bakery bread, we recommend using a combination of bread flour and all-purpose flour. Bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour, which helps to create a chewy texture in the bread. All-purpose flour, on the other hand, is more versatile and can be used to create a lighter, fluffier texture. You may also consider using cake flour if you prefer a softer, more delicate texture.

Yeast and Its Role

Yeast is an essential ingredient in bread-making, as it helps the dough to rise and gives the bread its fluffy texture. There are two main types of yeast: active dry yeast and instant yeast. Active dry yeast needs to be dissolved in water before it can be used, while instant yeast can be added directly to the dough. We recommend using instant yeast for Chinese bakery bread, as it is easier to work with and produces consistent results.

Dairy Components

Dairy components such as milk, butter, and eggs are also important ingredients in Chinese bakery bread. Milk helps to create a soft, tender crumb, while butter adds richness and flavour. Eggs also contribute to the texture and flavour of the bread. If you prefer a richer, more decadent bread, you may consider using heavy cream instead of milk.

When it comes to proposing the use of seafood in the recipe, we suggest adding dried shrimp or dried scallops to the bread dough. These ingredients will add a unique umami flavour to the bread and complement the sweetness of the dough. Be sure to soak the dried seafood in water before adding it to the dough to rehydrate it.

Preparing the Dough

A pair of hands mixing flour, water, and yeast in a large bowl. A cloud of flour dust hangs in the air as the dough comes together

Making Chinese bakery bread requires a few steps, but the result is worth it. Here's how to prepare the dough for your bread.

Mixing and Kneading

To make the dough, mix together all-purpose flour, active dry yeast, sugar, and water. You can also add milk powder for a richer flavour. Knead the mixture until it forms a smooth, elastic dough. This should take about 10 minutes of kneading by hand or 5 minutes in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.

The Tangzhong Method

For a softer and fluffier bread, you can use the tangzhong method. This involves cooking a portion of the flour and liquid mixture into a thick paste and then adding it to the rest of the dough. To make the tangzhong, mix together flour and water in a 1:5 ratio (1 part flour to 5 parts water) and cook over low heat until it thickens. Let it cool before adding it to the dough.

First and Second Rise

After kneading the dough, let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size. This should take about an hour. Punch the dough down and let it rise again for another 30 minutes. You can also add seafood to the dough during the second rise. Shrimp or crab meat can add a delicious flavour to your bread.

That's it! Now you're ready to shape your bread and bake it to perfection.

Shaping and Baking

Dough being kneaded, shaped, and placed in oven. Bread rising and baking to golden perfection in a Chinese bakery

Once you have prepared the dough, it's time to shape it and bake it to perfection. In this section, we'll cover the different steps involved in shaping and baking your Chinese bakery bread.

Forming the Loaf

Firstly, you need to shape the dough into a loaf. If you're using a loaf pan, make sure to grease it with some oil or butter and line it with parchment paper. Then, place the dough into the pan and shape it into a loaf. If you're not using a loaf pan, shape the dough into a round or oval shape and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Applying Egg Wash

Once you have shaped the dough, it's time to apply the egg wash. This will give your bread a shiny and golden crust. To make the egg wash, whisk together an egg with a tablespoon of water. Then, using a pastry brush, apply the egg wash to the top of the dough.

Oven Settings and Baking

Preheat your oven to 375°F/190°C. Place the bread in the middle of the oven and bake it for 25-30 minutes. If you're using a loaf pan, cover the top of the pan with foil after 15 minutes to prevent the top from getting too brown. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can also add some seafood to your Chinese bakery bread. Try adding some chopped shrimp or crab meat to the dough before shaping it. This will give your bread a unique flavour and texture that will impress your guests.

Storing and Serving

A bakery worker places freshly baked Chinese bread on a wire rack to cool before carefully packaging them for display

Keeping Bread Fresh

After you have made your homemade Chinese bakery bread, you want to make sure it stays fresh for as long as possible. You can store the bread in an airtight container on the counter for 2-3 days, or in the fridge for 5 days. To keep the bread fresh for longer, you can also freeze it for up to a month.

It is important to note that storing bread in the fridge can cause it to dry out faster. If you want to keep your bread fresh for longer, it is best to store it at room temperature.

Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving your Chinese bakery bread, there are many options to choose from. You can slice the bread and serve it with butter, or use it as a base for sandwiches. You can also toast the bread and serve it with your favourite spread.

If you want to add some seafood to your bread, you can try adding some shrimp or crab meat to the dough. This will give your bread a unique flavour and texture. Alternatively, you can serve your bread with a seafood-based dip, such as a crab or shrimp dip.

To conclude, Chinese bakery bread is a versatile and delicious addition to any meal. With these tips, you can keep your bread fresh and serve it in a variety of ways to suit your tastes.

Frequently Asked Questions

A busy Chinese bakery with shelves of fresh bread and a sign reading "Frequently Asked Questions Chinese Bakery Bread Recipe."

How do you make soft and fluffy Chinese milk bread?

To make soft and fluffy Chinese milk bread, you need to use a combination of bread flour, milk, sugar, yeast, and butter. The key to achieving the perfect texture is to knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic. You can also try using the tangzhong method, which involves cooking a small amount of flour and water into a paste before adding it to the dough. This technique helps to retain moisture and create a softer texture.

What's the secret to keeping bakery bread so soft?

The secret to keeping bakery bread soft is to store it properly. After baking, allow the bread to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container or plastic bag. You can also add a slice of apple or a damp paper towel to the container to help retain moisture. Avoid storing bread in the fridge, as this can dry it out and make it go stale faster.

Can you give me a simple recipe for Chinese bakery-style bread?

Sure, here's a simple recipe for Chinese bakery-style bread:


  • 500g bread flour
  • 50g sugar
  • 5g salt
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 250ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter


  1. In a large bowl, combine the bread flour, sugar, salt, and instant yeast.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and egg.
  3. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir until a dough forms.
  4. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10-15 minutes, or until it's smooth and elastic.
  5. Add the butter and knead for another 5-10 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated.
  6. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp towel. Let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  7. Punch down the dough and divide it into equal portions.
  8. Shape each portion into a ball and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  9. Cover the dough balls with a damp towel and let them rise for another 30-45 minutes.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the dough balls with egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

What are some traditional items you'd find in a Chinese bakery?

In a Chinese bakery, you'll find a variety of sweet and savoury baked goods, including pineapple buns, egg tarts, mooncakes, and steamed buns. Some bakeries also offer savoury items like char siu bao (barbecue pork buns) and egg custard buns.

How does the texture of Chinese milk bread differ from Japanese milk bread?

Chinese milk bread and Japanese milk bread are both soft and fluffy, but they have slightly different textures. Chinese milk bread is typically denser and chewier, while Japanese milk bread is lighter and airier. Japanese milk bread is also usually sweeter than Chinese milk bread.

What's the best way to achieve the perfect rise in homemade bao buns?

To achieve the perfect rise in homemade bao buns, you need to make sure the yeast is activated properly. Dissolve the yeast in warm water or milk with a pinch of sugar and let it sit for 5-10 minutes, or until it becomes frothy. Knead the dough until it's smooth and elastic, then let it rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size. When shaping the buns, make sure to seal them tightly to prevent them from deflating while steaming.