I’m a fan of these Japanese red bean buns and many other Asian pastries and baked goods. However, this particular one is addictive majorly because it’s sweet, fluffy, soft, and rich to use alongside many other meals.
Although you will mostly find them across the streets of Asakusa, you can also make them at home. Please keep reading to learn how to make it.
The Japanese sometimes refer to it as the Anpan. The term Anpan refers to Japanese soft and fluffy bread rolls with sweet red bean paste filling. The bread is usually moist and will melt in your mouth.
So of course when you have a shop, you go to buy the freshly baked ones you will want to go back there.
But what if I told you that you could make just as good a red bean bun at home with this recipe?
So what is Anpan or Japanese red bean bun?
For you to understand this topic well, we have to explain to you what this bun is. It will make sense to those who have never seen or tried it.
This is a type of Japanese bun. Notice that the Japanese call bread ‘Pan,’ and the term Anpan in Japanese refers to sweet red bean bread.
So the bread is usually filled with the red bean paste or what most people call the azuki bean paste.
The origin of the Anpan
Who thought of a bean paste in the roll, though? I know most people ask this question, and I, too, did the first time I saw it.
This kind of bread was first made in Ginza, Tokyo, back in 1869. The name people talk about the most when talking about this bread origin is Kimura Yasubei.
At the time, Kimura had lost his job in the social class during the Meijja time. By then, the bakeries were already coming up just like they do in the West. So he quickly became a baker, and he would soon be the founder of the famous Kimuraya bakery.
So the bread they were making in his were more to fit the Japanese taste buds. During this time, he replaced the common Japanese red bean Mochi with the bread in place of the mochi. It was also stuffed with the red bean paste, and this made it such a sweet bun.
For the buns, Kimura used Koji to leaven them. Koji is a rice culture that they use to make soy and sake sauce.
The reason why he used Koji for the bread was to make the buns. It further yielded an even sweeter flavor. Surprisingly it was way better than the bread they leaven in the western bakeries.
By 1874, Kimura showcased this bread, and soon it would spread rapidly across different parts of Japan.
What does it taste like?
As you can see, these buns contain the red bean paste filling, and they make it using the earthy red azuki bean paste. In most cases, they will often even sweeten the beans with a little bit of sugar.
The paste is also standard in most Asian meals and not only this bun style. Of course the paste too you can make at home or buy koshian in the supermarkets.
You will have different variations of the buns, and mostly it depends on the type of red bean paste you are using at that time. So, of course, you can use the different variations of Anpan to make it.
The first thing to remember is that you can make the black or white Anpan. Regardless the black one is still made using the red bean paste, and it will mainly take the grayish color.
Again if you like, you can add some matcha powder to the bread flour. They will often use the poppy seeds and the sesame seeds to make them even better tasting.
How to make the best-tasting Japanese red bean bun?
- 340g High-gluten flour
- 60g low-gluten flour
- 35g Caster sugar
- 30g Milk powder
- 5g Salt
- 30g Butter
- 250g Water
- 5g instant dry yeast
- 480g Red bean paste
- Black sesame…a little.
Step by step Instruction:
- In the post-oil method, put the dough ingredients together in the mixer and knead to the complete stage. Next, cover the dough and put it in a warm place to ferment.
- Put it into the basin and cover with plastic wrap to proof to twice the size.
- After the dough is ready, take it out and divide it into 12 evenly-sized portions with plastic wrap and proof it for 15 minutes.
- In this case, we are using the store-bought red bean paste. You can also make yours, though, and then add it on as a filling. So divide the red bean paste into 12 portions, knead round, and set aside.
- Roll the dough into a round shape, and put a red bean paste in the center after turning it over.
- Use a tiger’s mouth to seam the surrounding dough parts to the middle and wrap the red bean filling.
- Pinch the seam part and squeeze tightly. Roll it a few times on the left and right hands. This will help to make the dough ball.
- Put the seam side on the bottom of the baking tray, and remember to cover it with plastic wrap. You don’t want it to dry out in the process of proofing. Next, then put it in a warm and humid place for the final proofing. This should take about 30 minutes.
- When the buns double up in size, then it’s ready for the next steps. Next, spray a little water on the surface and sprinkle a little black sesame in the middle. This will give it even more nutty flavors. Meanwhile, I hope you had already preheated the oven ready for the baking process.
- Cover the dough with a layer of greased paper, cover a baking tray on the bread, put it into the middle layer of a preheated 190°C baking tray, and bake for about 18 minutes.
When it finally baked, set it in a wire rack to cool down before storing it. Otherwise, you are better off serving it warm with your hot chocolate or perfect coffee.
- You can make red bean paste by yourself, or you can use commercially available ones. The red bean paste is available in Asian stores.
- The water content of the flour is different, and the water content in the dough material should not be added all at once. Adjust it slowly, depending on the situation.
- The cake flour is just as good to make this dough, but you can use the bread flour or the all-purpose flour if you don’t have it. Regardless of when you’re using the cake flour, you will also use the all-purpose flour and the cornstarch.
- I prefer the instant yeast, although you can also use the active dry yeast and have it serve you just as much. Just remember to activate the active yeast for about ten minutes before you add the flour.
- The oven’s temperature has a temperature difference for each unit, and the baking temperature and time are subject to your oven.
Do you know how to shape it?
For some people, including myself, the shaping part can be a little tricky. Sometimes I like to use a muffin mold in the shaping of the bun. So I’ve learned over the years that when you’re covering the bean paste, create the perfect pleats at the top.
You should make the gathers and then seal them perfectly. By the time you’re done, the dough will be a perfect ball, or you can roll it on your two hands.
Always remember, though, to make the central part much thicker than the outer parts. This will keep the red bean paste in place.
What should you serve it with?
If it’s your first time taking it, this is the central question coming to mind. I’ve seen people serve it with almost anything and everything. The most common thing you will see them serve it with is the steamed white rice.
Also, if you like the Japanese green tea style, you will find this to be useful. It will go perfectly with any of the green tea styles.
Tools to use
I like my Hamilton Beach Electric Stand Mixer. It comes in handy for my different needs. With it, you can mix the different doughs. I used this one for the recipe, but you can also use your favorite one that you probably already have at home.
If you like to make these goodies, you probably already have them. If you don’t, then use this one that I bought recently. Gorilla Grip Original Kitchen Bakeware Sets.
Can you store the buns?
Yes, you can store the buns, especially if you will store them in the freezer. I find it easiest to wrap them individually with the cling film wrap and then set them in a container and into the freezer. You can store them in a freezer for a month.
Otherwise, you can have them in the fridge section for a week and keep being nicely fresh.
Can I make the paste at home?
Of course, you can make the paste at home. That’s even better to make the paste at home as you will influence the tastes. It will require some work, but it’s all worth it, especially if you have a food processer, it will be much easier to make it.
Must I bake them?
No, if you don’t like the baked ones, you can steam them, although those will not be the Japanese red bean bun. You will have made it as a steamed bun. My point, though, is that it will still cook right and maintain the deliciousness.
What should I do if I intend to store it longer?
If you are going to make the whole thing afresh, you should make the paste and store it for later use. You can then make the dough later. Some people, though, make the dough and freeze it, which is still okay.
Have you made it yet?
You should have learned to make this fluffy, delicious, flavorful bun, but if you haven’t, then try this recipe. Did you make it? How did it come out for you? Comment below; I would like to see the results.
Japanese Red Bean Bun (12)
- 340 g High-gluten flour
- 60 g low-gluten flour
- 35 g Caster sugar
- 30 g Milk powder
- 5 g Salt
- 30 g Butter
- 250 g Water
- 5 g instant dry yeast
- 480 g Red bean paste
- Black sesame...a little.
- In your dough mixer, set the dough ingredients and start it. Let it knead the dough until it reaches the expansion level.
- Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in a warm environment. Give it about an hour to double up.
- Divide it into 12 pieces and set it aside. Let it rest for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, divide your red bean paste into 12 portions as well.
- Roll the dough to a round sheet and then set the red bean paste in the middle. Start to wrap the filling with the dough sheet. Pinch the top part to make sure you tightly wrap the dough. Set the seam apart on the baking tray. Do the same for the remaining 11 pieces.
- Please put it in the baking tray, ready to bake.
- Cover with plastic wrap and put it in a warm environment for 30-45 minutes for the final proofing. Let it double the size again.
- Spray the dough pieces with water and then set the sesame pieces at the top of each piece.
- Set it in the preheated oven at a temperature of 190°C and let it bake for about 18 minutes. Set them in the wire rack to cool down a little. Serve it warm with your favorite green tea or milk.