Monday 14 December 2020

Palm Sugar Coconut Bun

Love the golden tone of these milk buns filled with moist palm sugar infused grated coconut. Soft and yet springy bread crumb - the type of texture I prefer for my buns 😍😋

Yield: 9 small buns
Raw dough weight: 560g
Baking temperature: Preheat oven to 190℃, bake at 170℃ for 20 minutes, turn off oven and bake for 5 minutes, or till golden, at lower rack of oven.

Dough Ingredients
200g bread flour
20g superfine wholegrain flour/bread flour
20g raw sugar
2g instant dry yeast

40g natural yeast, 100% hydration*
10g evaporated milk/milk, cold
110g milk, cold
15g beaten egg
25g water, cold (to be added depending on dough condition)

2g salt

20g unsalted butter, softened

*40g natural yeast can be replaced by 20g each of bread flour and water.

About 180~190g palm sugar coconut

1. Mix bread flour, superfine wholegrain flour, raw sugar and instant dry yeast in a big mixing bowl.

Pour and mix in the wet ingredients, i.e. natural yeast, evaporated milk, milk, beaten egg, and cold water with the dry ingredients. The cold water to be added gradually depending on the dough moisture level. Stir the ingredients in one direction till they formed into a dough ball.

Cover the dough and let it undergoes autolysis for about 15 to 20 minutes.

2. Use a hand mixer fitted with a pair of dough hooks to knead the dough for about 2 minutes, or till it becomes smoother.
Add in the salt, and continue to knead for about 30 to 60 seconds.

Knead in the softened butter. Stop kneading when the butter has well incorporated into the dough.

no trace of butter can be seen

Perform about 250 sets of "slapping and folding" till the dough reaches window pane stage.

Window pane - the dough stretches to form a membrane

3. Shape the dough into a ball, spray some water over the top, cover with a lid or towel. Let it undergo first proofing for about 60 to 70 minutes, or till the dough doubles in volume.

End of first proofing

4. Invert out the dough onto a floured worktop. Deflate the dough, and divide into 9 portions, about 51g each.

Shape the cut dough into 9 balls, cover with a lid or towel, and let them rest for about 15 minutes.

5. Roll out one dough ball into a disc shape with the edge thinner than the center. Scoop about 20g of palm sugar coconut filling to the center of the flat dough. Wrap up and shape into a ball.

Place the shaped dough onto a non-stick baking tray coated with a little bread flour. Allow good spacing between the shaped dough. Keep the tray of shaped dough in a cold oven to undergo second proofing for about 40 minutes.

End of second proofing

6. Start to preheat the oven to 190℃ for about 10 minutes.
While waiting, brush a thin coat of milk over the shaped dough surface.

Bake at 170℃ for 20 minutes, at lower rack of the oven. Next, turn off oven and continue to bake for about 5 minutes, or till golden.

7.  Transfer the baked buns out of the oven.

Brush a thin coat of melted butter over the hot crusts. 

Allow the buns to cool down slightly before enjoying 😋
Keep the unconsumed buns in the fridge for prolong keeping, and heat up before serving 😊


  1. Hello there!
    your recipe looks lovely :-) just by looking at the pics I can imagine the taste already.

    may I know what is palm sugar coconut? Is it a ready-made filling I can get at the sundries shop? I've never seen it before.

    I live in France now and miss this coconut bun from my childhood in Singapore. Would love to relive the memories by learning how to make this myself! If I can't find this, do you have a proposed alternative or a DIY version?

    Thanks in advance and thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Hi wanderbugjade,
      So sorry for my very late reply. Palm sugar is coconut flower sugar, also known as gula melaka in our local term. You can use dark brown sugar or light brown sugar to replace palm sugar. If you can find frozen grated coconut in France, then it would be ideal to prepare the sweet coconut filling. You can also use fine white sugar to prepare, the only difference will be the colour :)

  2. Hi,
    For the natural yeast, i can instantly replaced with equal amount of bread flour and water as per above recipe? Pleade advise. Thank you.

    1. Hi Irene, yes, you can directly add the flour and water replacement into the dough. If you prefer a more fragrant dough, you can add about 1/8 tsp of the instant dry yeast to the flour and water, and let the mixture stands for about 1 hour, or overnight in the fridge, before adding to the rest of the dough ingredient. The purpose of adding natural yeast is to improve the moisture content and fragrance of the buns :)


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