Breads (Yeast) - Buns/Rolls

Pumpkin Kaya Buns

June 05, 2018 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Pumpkin Kaya Buns

Pumpkin Kaya Buns

Pumpkin Kaya Buns

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I love making Pumpkin Kaya as it is so much easier to prepare and probably healthier too.  I made a lot recently as we had a few large pumpkins at home.  

I always like to make bread dough either using the Tangzhong (water roux) or Yudane Method.  It may seem like more work than the straight dough method but I have found that it yields a  better, soft and fluffy bread.  In this recipe, I use the Tangzhong method.  You may also use overnight dough method if you prefer, for that recipe please click here, Sambal Ikan Buns recipe.

Tangzhong method is quite similar to Yudane method.  Both methods are scalding method. For Tangzhong method, a small portion of dough is cooked over the fire.   

Please click here to see the differences between  Yudane vs Tangzhong Method. 

If you have any questions regarding this recipe or any other post, please leave me a comment in the “LEAVE A COMMENT” link and I will reply you as soon as possible.  Do tag me on Instagram @Bakewithpaws if you attempt on this recipe.

How To Make Pumpkin Kaya Buns (Tangzhong Method)

Yields: 10 buns




25g bread flour
120g water or 60g fresh milk + 60g water

Main dough:
300g bread flour
1 tsp yeast
2 tbsp (20g) brown sugar 
2 ½ tbsp (20g) milk powder
½ tsp salt
50g whisked egg (from 1 large egg)
80g milk
30g butter

Egg Wash:  
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water

Some pumpkin seeds

2 baking trays or non-stick baking trays

  1. Tangzhong:
    1. In a sauce pan, combine flour and water.  Mix with whisk or spatula until no lumps. 
    2. Cook over low heat, stirring consistently until the mixture becomes thicker.  Once you see some lines appear, it is ready.
    3. Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl to let it cool.  Tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature. It can be stored in fridge up to a few days. The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before using.
  2. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter), including tanzhong into a bowl of stand mixer.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the dough hook attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Knead for about 3 - 5 minutes or until the dough comes together.  Rest for 5 - 10 minutes to let the gluten form and relax.
    3. Add in butter and continue kneading for another 12 - 15 minutes or until the dough comes together, become elastic and reaches reasonable window pane stage.   But, the dough is not very silky and smooth.  The whole kneading process, I stopped few times to scrape down the dough from the hook to be sure it is evenly kneaded and also to prevent the motor from overheating.
  3. 1st Proofing:
    1. Cover the bowl and transfer to refrigerator for overnight retard, about 8 – 12 hours.  I retarded in the fridge for 10 hours.  I found with overnight retard the texture is even softer compared with same day bake.
    2. You may also do the same day bake - Let the dough rise in a warm place for 60 - 90 minutes until double in size. I usually left the dough in the same mixing bowl and cover with cling film. 
  4. Shaping:
    1. Croissants Shape:
      1. Take out dough from the fridge and leave on counter for around 15 - 30 mins to soften and relax the dough. 
      2. Transfer the dough to a clean surface slightly dusted with flour, divide dough into 10 equal portions (approx.65g each).  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.   
      3. Shape each dough into a ball.  Finish all the dough.
      4. Roll each dough ball into carrot shape. Finish all the dough.
      5. Flatten the dough with a rolling pin.  Place 1 round tablespoon of cold pumpkin kaya (from the refrigerator), then roll up like shaping a croissant.  Please refer to the diagram below.
      6. Place the buns on the lined baking tray.  Rest the buns in the refrigerator while shaping the rest of the buns if your kitchen is too warm.
    2. Bun Shape:
      1. For easy wrapping purpose, I froze the pumpkin kaya in ice cube or small round silicon mold in the freezer.  Make 10 frozen pumpkin kaya cubes,  about 1 ½ tbsp of pumpkin kaya each
      2. Punch down the dough to release the air. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 10 equal portions (around 65g each). Shape each dough into a ball. Flatten the dough and roll into a flat circle. Place the frozen pumpkin kaya in the centre, wrap and seal. 
      3. Place the buns in the prepared baking tray. Rest the buns in the refrigerator while shaping the rest of the buns if your kitchen is too warm.
    3. Final Proofing:
      1. Let the buns rise at warm place (my room temperature around 29 - 30C) for another 30 - 45 minutes until the buns rise about double in size.  
    4. Baking:
      1. Preheat oven at 190C - 200C (top & bottom heat) or 180C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
      2. Brush with egg wash and top with pumpkin seeds (optional).
      3. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 - 16 minutes, or until golden brown.
      4. Remove the buns from oven and let them cool on rack.

Main Dough


Gluten forms when flour comes in contact with water.  Hydration of the flour causes the sticky and stretchy protein to form, giving structure to the bread.  This makes your bread trap air and rise. 

Gluten in dough can be developed by autolyse, resting, kneading or folding.

The windowpane test is used to determine whether the dough has been sufficiently kneaded.  By gently pulling the dough (or you may pinch off some dough) and trying to stretch it into a thin membrane.  If you are able to stretch the dough paper thin and translucent  without tearing, then the gluten is fully developed.  However, if you can stretch it without tearing but the membrane is not transparent, then the gluten is not yet fully developed.  

However, from my experience not all the recipe can achieve a thin and translucent window pane stage easily.   For example low hydration and low fat dough.  For such recipes, a reasonable window pane is good enough and it can be left to rest. Gluten will continue to develop while resting.  Exercising restraint to not over-knead the dough prevents the gluten from being overworked and broken.   Some of you may have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  It is because the dough is over kneaded. 

The total kneading time for me is usually 15 minutes at low speeds except brioche dough with high fat percentage or dough using liquid fat which usually takes a little longer (maybe 18-20 mins).

From my experience, I found that high hydration dough with high percentage of fat will be easy to stretch and achieve a paper thin windowpane stage.

For kneading, please regard the timing provided as an indication only. It is only meant as a guide.  Timing may differ depending on the brand of flour and electric mixer used. The protein content may vary from one brand of flour to another.

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.   To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  The protein content is around  12 - 13%.

The liquid measurement given is also a guide.  It is advisable to always reserve some liquid and not add it all in one go.  This would give you the opportunity to adjust if necessary. If dough is too dry, add the reserve liquid one tablespoon at a time until the right consistency.  This is because each flour absorbs water and hydrates differently. 

Please note that the proofing timing may also vary depending on your climate and environment. The humidity and temperature at your place will influence how dough rises.  
If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:
  1. First Proofing:
    • Lightly flour or oil your finger or knuckle, gently poke in the centre of the dough then remove your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation then it needs more time.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back or if the dough collapses, then the it is over proved.  
    • If it bounces back just a little, then the dough is ready to be punched down and shaping.
  2. Second Proofing:
    • Lightly press the side of the proved dough with your finger.  If it bounces back immediately without any indentation, it means the dough is under proved and needs more time before baking.
    • If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
    • If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
    • There will be a final burst of rising once the bread is placed to bake in the oven and it is called oven spring. 
If your bread collapses or gets wrinkled on top after removing from oven, it could be because your dough over proved during the second proofing. Please proof until it rises 80 - 90% in size or is slightly below the rim of the pan.

Do also note that the baking temperature and timing provided are what works for my oven and should also be regarded as a guide only. Every oven behaves a little differently, so please adjust accordingly for your oven.


  1. Hi YL,

    Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes. They have been so superb. I have a question to ask. I Was wondering if I could add wholemeal to pumpkin kaya buns and maybe to other breads as well. IF it is possible, how much wholemeal to add and how much breadflour to reduce? Looking forward to hear from you. TQ.

    1. Hi,

      Thanks for trying and your kind feedback. Yes, you can. you can use 80% bread flour or 20% wholemeal.

      Or you can use this recipe:

      Cheers :)


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