The first in our new series of Kitchen Bloopers, we would like to share with you our love-hate relationship with the homemade Papparoti style coffee bun. If you’ve had the warm coffee crusted buttery goodness that is the Papparoti bun, you know how addictive they are.
And while most people are content with Pappa feeding them, our too-curious-for-their-own-good family insisted on trying to decipher the brilliance of this bun at home. While conveniently forgetting our family history of laziness. Recipe for Papparoti? We’ll get there. But the recipe for disaster had been written.
So we began our quest to find this mysterious recipe. We even looked through page THREE of Google. That’s how far we were willing to go. And what we found, over and over again, were basically two recipes that everybody seemed to be passing off as their own.
One was pretty straightforward. Prepare dough, let rise, shape, let rise some more, glaze and bake. Simple, right?
The other one had a ‘pre-dough mix’, the dough mix, post-dough instructions, an entire cookbook could be filled with that single recipe. It was unanimously declared as too much work, and what on earth is Tangzhong anyway?
So we went with the first kind of recipe, and it went a little like this..
Step 1: How to make the stickiest, most unworkable dough possible.
There are a lot of ways to do this. We’re not sure what we did. But according to the internet, we did one or more of the following. Feel free to take your pick.
A) Kill off your yeast by adding cold milk directly from the fridge B) Kill off your yeast by bringing it into direct contact with salt C) Add so much milk that your dough becomes a runny mess D) Throw your lumpy, bumpy dough at your laptop screen, go sit in a corner and cry.
Step 2: Let it rise, realize two hours later it hasn’t risen one bit, soldier on anyway and shape the buns.
Denial? No, we’d rather call it mad, crazy hope. Peek at your dough for the 58th time in two hours, and convince yourself it has risen.
Then add a bucketload of flour to the sticky glob that you call dough. Now that it’s slightly less sticky, congratulate yourself on saving the day. Proceed to shape your (seemingly) revived dough.
Step 3: Stuff the buns with cubes of butter because everything tastes better with butter.
Flatten the dough, add the butter cubes, and re-shape the buns. At this stage, tell yourself that everything will be okay. When has butter ever disappointed you?
Step 4: Follow the already suspicious recipe till the end, to make a terrible looking crumbly coffee icing.
Display your capability to blindly, foolishly see things through to the end, by following that same recipe and creating a crumbly, ugly coffee coating for the bun, which looks nothing like the Papparoti pictures you saw online. It helps if you have a nice unsteady hand so the coating goes on as messily as the entire recipe has proven.
It helps to have a nice camera at hand which will disguise your sorry attempt, so you can tell the world you’re making these grand elaborate buns.
Step 5: Pre-heat your oven, stuff the buns in, hope and pray for a miracle.
…and watch miserably as all the coating slides off the buns and forms a nice crunchy fort around them. Then watch in horror as the butter slowly melts and explodes in a volcanic eruption of all your kitchen aspirations.
Step 6: Eat this beautiful, surprisingly tasty mess.
After having lost all hope, let these non-instagrammable buns show you their inner beauty. Accept them as they are. Drizzle some buttery lava over the non-fluffy but deliciously moist bun, and drown your sorrows in the deconstructed delicious mess that you’ve created. Bask in the waft of these buns that has spread around your house (which is the only thing that resembles Papparoti).
… and then reluctantly go back to the other recipe, find out that Tangzhong is a beautiful method of creating moist, fluffy buns, and remind yourself never to question the Japanese again.
If you still want this recipe, let us know and we’ll link it to you. At your own risk. If you’ve made the perfect coffee coated bun, we would love to hear how you did it!