How To Make Soft Potato Buns That Taste Just Like The Ones You Had As A Kid

Mmm… tastes like childhood!

Cover image via Berry's & Alyssa Pong/SAYS

Do you remember eating these soft, golden brown potato buns as a kid?

Their fluffy texture and sweet custard topping made them a go-to snack for us whenever rehat rolled around. 

Image via Berry's

Turns out they're actually pretty easy to make!

These are the ingredients you'll need to create this nostalgic treat:

Dough (based on this recipe):
- 250g of bread flour
- 125g of mashed potatoes puree
- 80g of lukewarm water
- 50g of caster sugar
- 30g of butter
- 8g of instant yeast
- 1 egg

Custard (based on this recipe): 
- 240g of milk (fresh whole milk or creamy soya milk)
- 3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract or essence
- 1/4 teaspoon of butter
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (caster or brown)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons of cornstarch

Egg wash:
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon of water

This recipe makes nine buns. 

Ingredients for the dough.

Image via Alyssa Pong/SAYS

Ingredients for the custard topping.

Image via Alyssa Pong/SAYS

Step one: Make the potato puree

Boil one peeled potato.

Once you can easily poke a fork or skewer through the potato, take it out of the boiling pot. 

Mash the potato till it is smooth. Then add the lukewarm water and mix until its texture is consistent. 

Alternatively, you could use a blender to combine both ingredients. 

Step two: Make the dough

Add the potato puree, bread flour, egg, yeast, and sugar into a large bowl. Gently stir the ingredients together till it forms a sticky dough. 

Using a mixer with a bread hook attachment, beat the dough at a low speed for five minutes.

Then, add the butter and beat the dough at a medium to high speed for seven minutes.

If you do not own a mixer, you can knead the dough with your hands. 

Tip: If you find that the dough is still quite wet after mixing, add flour tablespoon by tablespoon until it is no longer sticky. Add milk or water teaspoon by teaspoon if the dough is too dry.

Step three: Proof the dough

Check if your dough is ready to be proofed by performing the 'windowpane' test. Take a small amount of dough and gently stretch it out. If a thin film of dough forms without breaking, you can proceed. 

An example of the windowpane test.

Image via Sara Cooks

Sprinkle some flour onto a clean surface. Shape the dough so that it is round.

Cover the dough with cling wrap or a wet towel.

Allow the dough to rest till it doubles in size. This could take up to two hours.

Gently press the dough to form an indent. It is only ready to be proofed a second time if the dough rises slowly to return to its original shape. If it doesn't, leave it to proof for 10 to 20 minutes.

The dough after the first round of proofing.

Image via Alyssa Pong/SAYS

Step four: Lightly knead the dough for one to two minutes, then divide it into nine pieces and wait until it doubles in size

Place the pieces into a lightly greased baking tray. Cover them with cling wrap or a wet towel. The second proofing could take 40 minutes to an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.

The dough before (left) and after (right) the second round of proofing.

Image via Alyssa Pong/SAYS

Step five: Make the custard

Whisk the egg, sugar, and cornstarch together in a bowl until the sugar dissolves.

Cook the milk, vanilla extract, and butter in a saucepan on medium heat until it simmers. Do not let it boil. 

Pour the egg, sugar, and cornstarch mixture into the saucepan. Stir or whisk the custard constantly for five to 10 minutes until it thickens.

Once it's ready, transfer the custard into a piping bag or a small plastic bag with the end cut off.

Tip: Custard cools quite quickly, so you will have to transfer it to a piping bag immediately after it's ready.

Step six: Lightly brush the egg wash onto the dough pieces and pipe the custard on top

Tip: Bake your buns in a tray instead of a deep pan so that they retain their round shape.

We went for a swirl!

Step seven: Place in the oven at 180ºC for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown

Slap on some kaya or eat it on its own, and savour the sweet, sweet taste of childhood!

Got a lot of recipes to share? Let us know in our new SAYS Makan Buddies Facebook Group!

Image via SAYS Makan

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