Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Butter Sugar Buns (Sourdough) - Yudane Method

November 20, 2020 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Butter Sugar Buns (Sourdough)

Butter Sugar Buns (Sourdough)

The Butter Sugar Buns using Tangzhong Method that I shared some years ago happens to be the most popular post in my blog.  So, I thought it will be nice to also bake a sourdough version of Butter Sugar Buns.  For the past few days, I have been trying this recipe.  I used my shokupan sourdough recipe (yudane method) and added sweet levain introduced by Autumn Kitchen.  This is my first time trying a sweet starter. I have been baking for adults most of the time and we don't mind the little touch of tanginess.   For my soft bread recipes, I usually used more levain (sourdough starter) to get a less sour taste. What I usually bake may have a very mild sourness and sometimes not at all.   Using the sweet starter this time was a great way to avoid any sourness as the buns were meant for the kids.

This Butter Sugar Buns (Sourdough) is especially soft, chewy and moist, it lasts quite well for 2 - 3 days.  It does not taste sour at all. 

Yudane method is quite similar to Tangzhong (water-roux) method.  Both methods are scalding methods. For the Yudane method, boiling water is used to scald the flour instead of cooking over the fire. Please click here to see the differences between  Yudane vs Tangzhong Method. 

How to store Sourdough Butter Sugar Buns:
This Sourdough Butter Sugar Buns can be stored in plastic wrap or container with cover for 1 - 2 days at room temperature (28C - 30C) or up to three days at room temperature (22C - 25C)  After these period you need to keep in fridge for few days.  Reheat in a 200C oven for 5 minutes before eating. 

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 - Butter Sugar Buns (Sourdough)

Yields:  12 buns


95g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
85g boiling water

Sweet Levain (ratio 1:3:3):
38g sourdough starter (100% Hydration)
111g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
111g water
38g sugar (I used fine brown sugar)

Main Dough:
255g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All yudane dough (above)
All sweet levain (above)
50g brown sugar 
1 1/2 tsp salt
35g butter, room temperature
60g egg, whisked (from 2 medium eggs, balance use for egg wash)
30g whipping cream (can be substituted with whole milk or full cream milk)

Egg Wash:  Balance from the above egg + 1 tsp water
Butter:  50g butter, cold and cut into long stick
Coarse Sugar:  50g
Sea salt flakes

2 baking trays, lined with parchment paper.

Note:  For eggless recipe just replaced 60g egg with 60g full cream milk.

  1. Yudane:
    1. Add bread flour in a bowl, pour the boiling water and mix well with spatula or spoon until no dry flour.
    2. Cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  I prepared the night before.
    3. Take out from the fridge 30 minutes before using to return to room temperature.
  2. Levain:
    1. One night before baking, mix all ingredients in a jar and cover.
    2. Let it ferment in aircond room temperature in tropical climate (approximately 25C) overnight until tripled.  It took about 10 - 12 hours.
    3. Note:  If you like to prepare levain on the same baking day, please use the ratio 1:1:1 (87g starter + 87g bread flour + 87g water + 45g sugar)  Let it ferment in room temperature (28C - 30C) until tripled.  It took about 3-5 hours depend how strong is your starter and your temperature ambient.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter), including all the sweet levain and all yudane dough into a bowl of stand mixer.
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the paddle attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  Using the paddle attachment, mix for 2 minutes or until all incorporated.  
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together (If the dough is too dry, you can add some milk). Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage. I noticed that it is harder to achieve a very thin window pane  with Yudane method dough sometimes. It could be due to the gelatinization of its starch.  It is fine if your window pane is not very thin as long as you have kneaded the dough long enough. During 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.
  4. First Proofing/Resting The Dough:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  The dough did not rise a lot in 60 minutes.
  5. Shaping:
    1. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 12 equal portions. Form each portion into a ball.  Flatten with hand.  Roll the dough and shape into oval shape as per the video.
    2. Place the dough in the prepared baking trays.  It is better to arrange the buns in two trays instead so there is adequate space for proofing.  Mine got a little stuck together because I only use one tray.   
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let it proof at warm place until the dough rise double in size.  This one took approximately 3 - 3.5 hours at room temperature of 28C - 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 190C (top & bottom heat) or 170C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Score each bun with a razor blade. Brush with egg wash. Place the butter strip onto the slit and top with coarse sugar and sea salt flakes.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Rotate the tray half way if necessary for evenly baked.
    4. Remove buns from oven and let them cool on rack completely.



A healthy starter is very crucial as advised by Baking with Gina.   It is advisable to feed your starter regularly if you want your bread to rise nicely and to use the starter (levain) at its peak.  A starter that is fed regularly will be more active in general.  If the mother starter is not strong, the bread dough will not rise a lot even though the starter is used at its peak.  


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.


Why do I use milk powder?  
  1. Milk or milk powder will enhance the flavour of the bread and makes the bread texture softer due to the fat content of the milk. 
  2. Milk powder is shelf stable and you can have it anytime when you want to use.  Unlike liquid milk you need to finish within a certain time before it spoils.

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, environment, flour and your starter. 

If you are unable to judge by just looking at the dough, you can do the finger poke test:

  1. 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.
  2. If the indentation stays and it doesn’t bounce back, it means it has been over proved.
  3. If the indentation slowly bounces back and leave a small indentation, it is ready to bake. 
  4. 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 the tip of the dough just reaches the rim of the pan, around 80% - 90% in 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.