Breads (Yeast) - Buns/Rolls

Anpan (Japanese Red Bean Buns)

June 04, 2022 | Recipe by Bake with Paws
Anpan (Japanese Red Bean Buns)

Anpan (Japanese Red Bean Buns)

I made this healthy Anpan using no sugar red bean paste but I used honey instead. Of course there is still natural sweetening, just not processed sugar (which I am trying to avoid).  However this red bean paste will only last for 2 -3 days and it becomes dry rather easily.  It is probably because there is no sugar used.  Sugar would have helped to preserve the paste for a little longer.  

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.

Recipe - Anpan (Japanese Red Bean Buns)

Yields: 10 buns


Bun Dough:
400g  bread flour (I used Japan high gluten flour, 12% protein)
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast
18g caster or brown sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
185g full cream milk, cold (whole milk)
100g water, cold (Reserve 20g first, add in later if too dry. I used all 100g of water)
35g butter, room temperature

Egg Wash (Optional):
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, whisked

Baking tray
Round Bun/Bread Coated Baking Paper Cup - 13.5 cm (Top : 9cm, Bottom : 8 cm, Height : 3 cm) 

  1. Kneading:
    1. Put all ingredients (except butter) into a bowl of stand mixer.  
    2. Slightly combine the mixture by hand with the hook attachment before turning on the machine so that the flour will not splash out.  
    3. Knead for another 3 minutes or until the dough comes together. Add in butter and continue knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until the dough come together. But, the dough is not very silky and smooth. You also do not need to achieve  window pane stage because the long overnight retard in the fridge will allow adequate gluten development.  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.
  2. 1st Proofing:
    1. Cover the bowl and transfer dough to the fridge to retard overnight for about 8 – 12 hours.  I retarded in the fridge for 10 hours.
    2. You may also do the same day bake - Let the dough rise in a warm place for 45 - 60 minutes until double in size.  But, the result is not as good as long retard in the fridge. I usually left the dough in the same mixing bowl and cover with cling film. 
  3. Shaping:
    1. Take out dough from the fridge. Punch down the dough to release the air. Transfer the dough to a clean floured surface then divide into 10 equal portions (about 72g each).  Please use a kitchen scale if you want to be exact.
    2. Form each portion to a ball.  Rest for 15 minutes.
    3. Roll a dough ball into a disc, the edges slightly thinner than the centre. 
    4. Place a red bean paste filling ball in the centre.  Gather up the edges to seal and shape into round ball.  
    5. Place a bun onto a baking paper cup. 
    6. Repeat and finish the rest of the dough.
  4. 2nd Proofing:
    1. Let it rise at warm place (my room temperature around 29 - 30C) for another 45 - 90 minutes until the dough rise double in size or fill up the baking paper cups.  
  5. Baking:
    1. Preheat oven at around 200C (top & bottom heat) around 180C (fan-forced)  for 10 - 15 minutes.
    2. Brush with egg wash.
    3. Wet the flat round side of a rolling pin in water, deep into a bowl of sesame seeds.  Lightly press on the centre of the buns.  Alternatively,  you can use your index finger tip too.
    4. Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
    5. Remove buns from oven and let them cool on rack.


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.