Breads (Yeast) - Buns/Rolls

Pumpkin Kaya Buns (Tangzhong Method)

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

Pumpkin Kaya Buns

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) method or the overnight sponge dough 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. 

It is advisable to read the below general notes before starting baking.


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.

Some have experienced the dough breaking during the second proofing.  If that happens it is due to over kneading.  Please stop the machine and check your dough during the final cycle of kneading to ensure that you don't over knead. Every machine is different and there is always a chance of over-kneading when using a machine. You may need to adjust this timing and stop as soon as you reach the window pane stage.

The right flour plays a very important role in bread making.  Usually bread flour content around 11.5 - 13.5% protein, while high gluten flour is around 13.5 - 14.5%.  All purpose flour content less protein around 9 - 11%.  To achieve fluffy, soft and light bread, I used Japan High Gluten Flour in most of my bread baking.  Sources from here and here.

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 your bun until 90% of the size.

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.

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.

Recipe - 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
30g butter
40g whisked egg (from 1 large egg and balance use for egg wash)
100g fresh milk (reserve 10g and add in later if neccessary)

Egg Wash:  
Balance of whisked egg from the above (10g) + 1 tsp water

Some pumpkin seeds

2 baking trays & round silicon mold or ice cube mold.


  1. Freeze the pumpkin kaya in ice cube mold or small round silicon mold for at least 8 hours.  Make 10 frozen pumpkin kaya cubes,  about 1 ½ tbsp of pumpkin kaya each.
How to make tangzhong:
  1. In a sauce pan, combine flour and water.  Mix with whisk or spatula until no lumps. 
  2. Cook over medium-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.
  1. Line the baking pans with parchment paper.
  2. Put all ingredients (except butter) into the bowl of stand mixer. Using the dough hook, knead for 3-5 minutes (Chef Kenwood mixer, speed 2.5) until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue kneading for another 12 - 15 minutes until the dough comes together, become elastic and reaches window pane stage.   I stopped half way to prevent the motor from overheating.   
  3. Let it rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until double in size in a large greased bowl, covered with cling film or kitchen towel.  I normally leave the dough in the stand mixer’s bowl and cover with kitchen towel. 
  4. Punch down the dough to release the air. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 10 equal portions. 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. Place the buns in the prepared baking pan.  Let it rise for another 60 minutes or until double in size.
  5. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) 170C (fan-forced)  for 10 - 15 minutes.
  6. Brush with egg wash and top with pumpkin seeds.
  7. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 - 20 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from the oven and transfer onto a wire rack to cool.


  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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