The little secret to making super soft buns is adding a flour-water thick roux or paste which the Japanese call Tangzhong. They have used this method for years and as a result they are known for making the softest/fluffiest breads in the world. Other Asian countries have borrowed the recipe and now the method is among us Zimbabweans.
Zimbabwean Buns Recipe
3 and 3/4 cup all purpose/ plain or bread flour
4tbs melted butter
2tsp instant yeast
3/4cup lukewarm milk
Flour/water mixture (roux)
1. Start by making the roux, in a small pot mix 1/3flour and 1cup water then heat the mixture on medium heat and stir continuously until it forms a thick mixture. Remove from heat and mix thoroughly the mixture until it looks smooth and sticky as shown in the picture. Leave the mixture to completely cool to room temperature and set aside for later use.
2. In a bowl put 3 and 1/2 cups flour, add salt, sugar, yeast and mix. Make a well in the centre and add melted butter, lukewarm milk, egg. Mix well.
3. Add the roux ( that flour paste) to the dough mixed in step
2 and mix well.Using the remaining 1/4 cup flour dust the surface regularly as you knead the dough for 15mins. Add a little more flour if its too thin. The dough is very sticky so add a little flour on the surface as you knead until it looks smooth and elastic.
4. Put a tsp of cooking oil in a clean bowl and put the dough, roll it over to completely coat it with oil then cover with plastic wrap or damp kitchen towel, put in a warm place and allow to rise for about 1hr. ( I switch on my oven 2-3mins then off to create a warm environment for the dough to rise)
5. Punch the dough and knead about 1min on a floured surface to remove all air bubbles. Divide the dough into 12 and shape into tight balls and place them in greased 9x13inch deep baking pan. Dust your hands with a little flour on shaping to prevent any stickiness.
6. Place the little balls about 1.5-2cm apart and cover the pan with greased plastic wrap to prevent buns from sticking on it after rising or cover with a damp clean kitchen towel. Put the buns in a warm place again and allow to rise again about 30mins.
7. Preheat oven to 400F or about 200C and bake for about 15mins or until nicely browned.
8. As soon as they come out of oven brush with sugar water syrup to glaze. ( glaze 2tbs sugar +2tbs water heated to boiling point on stove or 20s in microwave). Enjoy hot or set aside to cool down.