It’s very common to make tea sandwiches with sliced bread, the type sliced from a Pain Di Mie loaf. Especially for afternoon tea events, it’s fun to play around with the kinds of bread you make sandwiches with. Different sizes, shapes, and textures make for a festive presentation. These shiny golden few-bite buns are sure to make any tea sandwich that much more enticing!
These slightly sweet buns are made from the same dough as my Baked Char Siu Bao. The dough has a tangzhong in it, also known as a water roux, which is added for extra softness. With a light egg wash and some sesame seeds, these round dough balls bake up to look like perfect little hamburger or slider buns.
These go particularly well with robust, full-flavored fillings, like my BLTea Sandwiches, which are made with salty, smokey thick-cut bacon. Depending on what you plan on filling them with, play around with the scatterings that go atop the buns. Black sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or even wheat germ would give these mini buns a unique look and taste.
A light toasting over a hot pan lightly coated with some oil or butter makes these mini buns exceptionally delicious. A few seconds in the microwave brings out their soft and chewy texture–a good time to fill them with some fruit jam and cream.
Whether you use these Mini Burger Buns for tea sandwiches, as appetizers, or as snacks, they’ll make the most gorgeous bites you’ve ever seen. A toothpick through the center will allow you to fill them with a maximum amount of filling, and also allow for you to effortlessly and neatly arrange them on your serving platters.
Mini Burger Buns
Makes 20- 2″ buns.
1 cup bread flour
2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp Bird’s Custard Powder
2 Tbsp nonfat dry milk
1 Tbsp instant yeast (I use SAF instant)
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp salt
5 Tbsp butter at room temp
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup whole milk
oil for proofing bowl
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp of water
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp bread flour
stand mixer with dough hook attachment or bread machine
2 half baking sheets fitted with parchment paper
1.) Make the Water Roux. Place a 1/2 cup of cold water into a small saucepan and add the 2 Tbsp of bread flour. Mix well until the mixture resembles homogenized milk, then turn on stove top to medium heat. Cook the roux until it thickens up and has the consistency of yogurt, making sure to keep the mixture a pure white color by not overcooking. The mixture should not exceed 150 degrees F. Place the mixture into a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap, making contact with the top surface of the roux (to prevent a skin from forming). You should end up with a 1/2 cup of roux, ready to use when it has cooled back down to room temperature.
2.) Make the Dough. Using the bowl of a stand mixer, place all the wet dough ingredients (including the roux) into the mixing bowl. Place the bowl in the stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and start to mix on low speed. Add the yeast, sugar, milk powder, custard powder, and salt first. Then add the bread and all-purpose flours gradually, a cup at a time, scraping down the insides of the mixing bowl periodically. Increase the speed to low-medium and continue to mix until the shaggy mass becomes a soft and supple ball of dough. This will take about 8 minutes. If necessary, gradually add a teaspoon of water at a time until the dough comes together. Transfer the ball of dough to an oiled bowl to proof, lightly coating all sides of the dough with some of the same oil. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough proof in a warm, draft free place for 30-40 minutes or until the mass has doubled in volume.
3.) Portion Out the Dough. After the dough has doubled in volume, punch it down and transfer it to a work surface lightly dusted with bench flour. Give the dough a few light kneadings, then use the scale to portion out dough out into 20 equal pieces (by weight).
4.) Make the Buns. Roll each of the pieces into a ball shape. Making an “o” sign with your left thumb and index finger. Using your right index finger, push a dough ball upwards from the underside of your “o” shaped fingers. Continue to push upwards until you get a taut ball surface with a smooth top. Lightly roll the base of the dough balls on a flat worksurface to smooth out the bottoms. Place the ball on a baking sheet fitted with parchment. Repeat this process for all 20 balls. When done with all 20 dough balls, cover the 2 baking sheets loosely with plastic wrap (10 buns on each half sheet pan). Let the buns rise for 30-40 minutes, or long enough for them to have doubled in puffiness. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
5.) Finish and Bake. After the second rising, brush the tops of the buns with egg wash, then sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake in oven for about 12-15 minutes, or until buns turn a light golden brown.