Versatile Milk Buns

I’ve been experimenting with bun recipes in the last few months since my daughter started Kindergarten. I needed breakfast that she and I can grab and eat in the car if we’re running late. Buns came to mind because that’s what I grew up eating. Meat filled buns to be exact.

The meat buns I remembered had a very soft texture so I started with a milk bun recipe. This milk bun recipe is versatile enough that you can pretty much fill it with whatever filling you want, sweet or savory. Unfortunately, my daughter isn’t a fan of meat filled bun. She likes mostly sweet buns so I fill hers with cream cheese, or cheddar cheese, or custard. If you’re filling your buns with cheese, I find that they melt better if you grate them.

White Cheddar Cheese

Here are the recipes for a quick custard and cream cheese that I used to fill my buns. Feel free to use your own favorite custard recipe or cream cheese filling. If you’re filling your buns with custard, make your custard ahead of time as it needs to be cooled and refrigerated.

Quick Custard

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 200 ml milk at room temp
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Mix egg yolks, sugar and cake flour
  • Gradually add milk and stir to combine
  • Microwave and stir in 30 seconds increment until thickened
  • Cool, refrigerate and set aside

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons sugar


  • Combine sugar and cream cheese, set aside

Now it’s time to make the buns! I like using my bread maker to make the dough. It takes care of all the timing from the rising and resting and punching down of the dough. You can use your mixer with a dough hook or a food processor to make the dough if you don’t have a bread maker. Just make sure you let the dough rise and rest properly. I’ll try to give the timing for the steps.

Milk Buns

  • 7 oz bread flour
  • 1.8 oz all purpose flour
  • 1 oz sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1.8 g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cold milk


  • Mix all ingredients together, starting with the dry ingredients first followed by the web ingredients, if you’re using a bread machine to make the dough. Press the dough function and step away until it’s done.
  • If you’re using a mixer or a food processor, start with the dry ingredients also, followed by the egg and melted butter, then gradually add the milk as fast as the flour can absorb it.
  • Continue to mix and knead the dough until it forms into a ball and the sides of the bowl is clean. The dough should be smooth, bouncy and not sticky.
  • Transfer the dough to a big bowl that has been lightly oiled. Turn the dough over to coat it completely with oil. Cover the dough with cling wrap and clean cloth.
  • Let rise for about 40 to 60 minutes. If you poke your finger into the dough and your finger mark stays, then it has finished rising.
  • Transfer the dough from your bread maker or when it has finished rising to the counter top and punch it down. The dough shouldn’t stick to the surface.
  • Cut the dough into 9 pieces, 1.7oz each.
  • Shape the dough and fill it with your choice of filling, and then place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  • Cover the dough with clean cloth and let rise again for another 40 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Lightly brush each dough with a mixture of egg and 1 tablespoon of milk.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. After the bread is baked, you can lightly brush with unsalted or salted butter for shiny crust and extra flavor.