Matcha Red Bean Sourdough Buns

Soft and fluffy sourdough matcha buns and a sweet, creamy red bean filling. 

I love a loaf of good sourdough bread, but for me there's nothing quite like soft, fluffy buns. I love the kind I can get at a typical neighbourhood bakery- buns topped with ham and cheese, or filled with sausage, otah or luncheon meat. They're all delicious, but the truth is that bread you buy from commercial bakeries contain preservatives and unnatural bread improvers added to make the bread taste softer, fluffier, and to last for a longer time. Recently, many new bakeries selling Japanese inspired bread made with natural sourdough starters containing no added commercial yeast have sprung up, which is great, and I've been searching for ways to make my own. 

A lot of the recipes I've found though, tend to use sourdough starters to make European style hearth loaves, but personally my family and I prefer the soft and fluffy varieties that we grew up with and are more used to. So here's a delicious recipe you can try if you love sourdough bread but want something different- it uses sourdough starter to leaven your dough, but still tastes soft and fluffy like a typical bun from the bakery. Feel free to leave out the matcha, or the red bean, and use whatever you have on hand, but I love the combination of both flavours together! 

Matcha Red Bean Sourdough Buns 
Recipe from Allie's Private Paradise 
Makes 8 buns 

250g bread flour
5g matcha powder
100g sourdough starter (refreshed the day before) 
15g sugar 
2g salt
100g milk 
60g water 
18g unsalted butter, soft 

Red bean paste, for the filling 

Combine the flour, matcha, sourdough starter, salt, milk and water in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or mix by hand). Knead till soft and elastic, about 15 minutes. Add in the butter, and continue kneading till the dough is smooth, glossy, very elastic, and passes the windowpane test (a small piece of dough can be stretched so thin that can you can see what's behind it). This might take quite long, 15-20minutes, and it may seem excessive, but stick with me- a good kneading is really key to fluffy buns. 
Let the dough rise, covered in a large bowl, overnight in the fridge. The next day, let the dough come to room temperature until it is no longer cold. 
Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces, and roll into balls. Let rest 15 minutes. 
Fill each bun with some red bean paste, seal tightly, and place on a lined baking sheet. 
Let the buns rest till doubled in size. The buns are ready to bake when, if you gently poke the dough with your finger, it springs back slowly and leaves a slight dent in the dough. This may take 1 1/2 to 2+ hours, depending on how hot or cold it is. 
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Brush the buns with egg wash and sprinkle on some sesame seeds. Bake for 13-15 minutes till lightly golden. 

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