kaya (coconut jam) buns

Happy National Day, Singapore! Finally, a public holiday after 2 months of  ‘dry spell’…I know loads of people will be taking leave on Friday to make it a long weekend. I don’t have the luxury, however. I need to ‘man the station’ since all of my department colleagues will be on leave. Hmm..I’ll bake something to bring tomorrow to work then.

I had made some kaya (coconut jam) a while ago and still had about half a jar in the fridge. I’ve read a lot about the soft fluffy bread made using water roux 65C method. This seemed a good opportunity to make kaya buns.

65C method requires first making a starch using one portion flour to five portions water and heating this up over a low flame whilst constantly stirring until the mixture reaches 65 degrees Celcius.

When it reaches the desired temperature, the heat is turned off and a cling wrap is used to wrap the mixture, making sure the cling wrap touches the surface of the mixture to prevent a film forming on the surface.

At this point, the water roux, once cooled, can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If the color turns grey, it cannot be used anymore.

There is another variation of the water roux which is simpler. Instead of cooking the mixture to 65C, boiling water is added to the flour, stirred to become a paste and allowed to rest for 12 hours in the fridge before using. One thing to note, all water roux needs to be brought to room temperature before using.

I adapted the recipe from @Kokken. She does mention the cooking method seems to yield a coarser textured bun for her. I have yet to try the 12 hour rest method so I can’t gauge. Anyway, I always seem to be making buns that doubles as a weapon when it is cold. Haha. Just throw my cold buns at your attacker and it should knock them out. Duh.

Kaya (Coconut Jam) Buns (65C water roux method)

Water roux

  • 50 grams bread flour
  • 250 ml water

Main dough

  • 360-370 grams bread flour
  • 56 grams all-purpose flour
  • 20 grams milk powder
  • 2 grams salt
  • 50 ml water
  • 6 grams instant dried yeast
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 40 grams unsalted butter, room temperature


About 500 grams Kaya (Coconut jam)

  1. For the water roux, mix the flour and water in a saucepan and whisk until lump-free. Heat over a low flame and when mixture thickens, check on temperature with a food thermometer. When temperature reaches 65 degrees C, turn off the flame and cover with a cling wrap, making sure cling wrap touches the surface of the water roux to prevent drying out. Let it cool to room temperature before use.
  2. For the main dough, mix everything except the salt and butter in the mixing bowl of the stand mixer. Mix on low until a dough forms. This should take around 2-3 minutes. Add in salt. Mix for a minute.
  3. Add in butter and continue mixing for 3 minutes or until the butter is combined well into the dough.
  4. Turn the mixer speed to medium and mix for 15-20 minutes. Test the elasticity of the dough by pulling on a bit of the dough and if it stretches thin without breaking, the dough is ready.
  5. Turn the dough out into a lightly oiled large bowl, cover with cling wrap and place in a warm place to proof for about an hour or until the dough doubles in size. (It took me 1 1/2 hours. I switched on the oven light and let it proof inside the oven with the timer on but the heat off. The oven light provides sufficient heat for proofing.)
  6. When the dough is ready, turn out onto a floured surface and knead it for about 2 minutes. Divide the dough into equal portions to your fancy. For me, I wanted about palm sized buns so I divided my dough into 10 pieces of 73 grams each. Place the dough balls onto a lightly oiled baking tray and cover loosely with a cling wrap. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
  7. Flour the work surface and a rolling pin. Roll the dough ball into a circle about 5 inches in diameter. (I try to ensure the edges of the dough after rolling is thinner than the center. I figure this should prevent thick dough at the bottom of the bun. :P)
  8. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of kaya and place in the center of the dough. Gather the edges and seal to form a ball. Place on the lightly oiled baking tray with the sealed side downwards.
  9. Let the buns rest covered with cling wrap for 30 minutes. While the buns are resting, preheat oven to 175 degrees C.
  10. Brush buns with some lightly beaten egg or melted butter before baking for 15-17 minutes, until tops are golden brown.

I am happy to report these buns cannot be used as weapons when cold. They are soft. Heeheeheeheehee. *dances around in glee* Yeah, even I can make soft buns! Muahahaha. This method is really quite simple and all the hard work is done by my KitchenAid.

I thought I had messed up once again when I forgot to measure the water roux and just dumped the whole lot into the mixer. According to the recipe from @Kokken, only 84 grams of the water roux was required. The above water roux recipe yields more than 84 grams.  One look at the result and I went “Uh-oh”….it was way too much, causing the dough to turn watery. I tried to salvage and added more bread flour bit by bit, crossing my fingers and praying fervently. Hence, my adaptation from @Kokken’s recipe. It was created out of desperation.

Thank the Lord it worked.

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