Breads (Sourdough) - Soft Buns/Rolls

Chocolate Soft Sourdough Buns

August 08, 2021 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Chocolate Soft Sourdough Buns

Chocolate Soft Sourdough Buns
My whole kitchen smells heavenly with the aroma of chocolate.  I must say that good premium quality chocolate makes a big difference.  Valrhona chocolate is my favourite choice whenever I use chocolate for baking.  I stuffed a little Dulcey Chocolate in the centre of the buns for a bit of added sweetness.  You may think it is too little but adding too much will risk chocolate bursting out during baking.

Two years ago I have made Mocha Soft Sourdough Bread (Liquid Starter + Yudane Method).  It turned out well but it took a longer fermentation, around 4 - 5 hours before baking.  Today, I made the Chocolate Soft Sourdough using Sweet Stiff Starter + Yudane Method.  With this new recipe, the proofing time is shorter due to a high percentage of sweet stiff starter used.

If you like to bake this recipe but do not have sourdough starter, you can use this yeast recipe Chocolate Soft Bread (Yudane Method) and shape into buns.

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.


Yields:  12 buns


Yudane Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
70g boiling water

Sweet Stiff Starter:
60g sourdough starter (100% Hydration), use at its peak
180g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
75g water
30g sugar (I used organic brown sugar)

Main Dough:
70g bread flour (I used Japan High Gluten Flour)
All stiff starter (above)
All the yudane dough (above)
15g - 30g brown sugar (I used 15g organic brown sugar)
1 tsp salt
30g milk powder
20g cocoa powder (Valrhona cocoa powder)
45g egg, whisked (from 1 medium egg)
45g water (reserve 15g and slowly add in if you feel needed.  I used total 45g).  The amount of liquid depend on the flour use.
35g butter, room temperature

12 pieces of Dulcey 35% Valrhona Chocolate

Egg Wash: 
1 egg + 1 tbsp water, whisked
Some white sesame seeds

6-cup non-stick muffin pan  (7.5 cm size)  X 2 units
12 cupcake cases

  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. Sweet Stiff Starter (For Stiff Starter Recipe)
    1. In a bowl of stand mixer, dilute starter with water, stir in sugar and add in bread flour.  Mix with paddle attachment until well mixed and all come together.   It can be done by hand mixing too.
    2. Cover and let it ferment until tripled. I prepared a night before and leave it in aircond room (approximately 24 - 25C room temperature) overnight until tripled.  It took about 8 - 9 hours depending on your starter.  It should take around 4 - 6 hours to get triple at room temperature at 28C - 30C. The starter should look smooth and round dome.  It shouldn't collapse.
  3. Main Dough:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter), including all the stiff starter and 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. This step is critical to prevent  an uneven mixed dough as the stiff starter is rather hard and a dough hook may not be able to mix it well enough.
    3. Change to hook attachment and knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until reach window pane stage.  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. 1st Proofing/Resting:  
    1. In the same bowl, let the dough rest for 15 - 60 minutes. Keep it covered with clingfilm or use a lid.  This dough I rested for 30 minutes and the dough rose slightly in 30 minutes.  (I did not find any big differences between 15 minutes to 60 minutes rest.  So, please follow your schedule).
  5. Shaping:
    1. Line the muffin pans with cupcake cases.
    2. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide dough into 12 equal portions (approx. 61g - 62g each for mine). Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.  
    3. Form each portion to a ball.  Flatten the dough into a flat circle, side is slightly thinner than the centre.  Place one Valhona Dulcey Chocolate (cut into 2) in the centre, wrap and seal. 
    4. Place bun into the prepared muffin pan.  Continue with the rest of the dough.
  6. Final Proofing:
    1. Let the buns proof at a warm place until the dough rise 80% in size.  This one took approximately 1.5 hours at at room temperature of 29 - 30C.  The duration of proofing depends on your ambient temperature and starter.
  7. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at 180C (top & bottom heat) or 160C (fan-forced) for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash, wet the tip of your index finger. That will help you pick up the sesame seeds to be transfer onto the buns. Lightly press on the centre of the buns.
    3. Bake in a preheated oven for 12 - 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
    4. Remove buns from oven and let them cool on rack.

  • This recipe is also suitable to bake as pull-apart buns in 8" square pan, arrange 3 X 3 (9 buns) or 4 X 4 (16 buns) as you like.





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.


  1. Love your blog and recipes. This is definitely something I would like to try baking. However, I do not have a sourdough starter. How can I convert this recipe to an instant yeast based recipe? Many thanks :)

    1. Hi, thanks for reading this post. I have shared a yeast based recipe on the above post. Please look out for this on the above:

      If you like to bake this recipe but do not have sourdough starter, you can use this yeast recipe Chocolate Soft Bread (Yudane Method) and shape into buns.

      Cheers :)

  2. Hello!! I have been trying this recipe and I have been having issues with my yudane dough as I have small lumps all over my final dough. Can I ask if you have any tips and tricks to solve this?

    1. Hi, thanks for trying this recipe. Please make sure the flour is fully mixed with the boiling water during yudane dough preparation. It is advisable to use paddle attachment at the beginning stage to mix the dough as sometimes the hook attachment may not be able to mix well.

      Just FYI - This recipe is not suitable for breadmaker machine as the hook at the bread maker is too weak or small.

      Please slightly tear the yudane dough too.



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