These coffee buns are made with soft and fluffy milk bread, filled with melted butter and topped with a sweet and crunchy coffee cookie crust
What is a coffee bun?
Coffee buns also known as Mexican coffee buns, papparoti, kopi roti, or rotiboy, and are a light and pillow bread filled with butter and topped with a thin layer of crunchy coffee-flavored cookie crust. Unlike its name, this delicious bread actually originates in Penang, Malaysia, and now it has been popularised all over Asia.
It's a take on the popular conchas from Mexico, but it also has similarities to Japanese melon pan and pineapple buns from Hong Kong. All of them having a super soft bread base topped with a crunchy cookie crust.
The coffee flavor of these buns gives them a wonderful aroma and is best with a warm cup of tea or coffee. If you haven't tried these before this is your chance!
- Bread flour: Bread flour has a higher protein than regular flour and is necessary when making bread as it gives it more structure, allowing the buns to grow taller and fluffier.
- Granulated sugar: Sugar gives the dough a subtle sweetness. We don't need too much as the bread itself is not that sweet.
- Pinch of salt: Salt helps to balance out the flavors of the bun as well as strengthen the gluten strands in the bread dough for a taller and fluffier bun.
- Milk powder: Milk powder adds extra milkiness to the dough as well as increasing the protein content of the bread.
- Instant yeast: Yeast is what gives bread dough rise! I like to use instant dry yeast as it doesn't need to be activated, but feel free to use active yeast if you like. If you are using active yeast make sure to activate it in the lukewarm milk until it bubbles before adding it to the dough.
- Whole milk: Milk adds moisture to the dough, as well as a milky flavor! If you can't have milk, or you don't have any on hand you can replace this with water as well.
- Unsalted butter: Butter is added to the dough to give it a more fragrant flavor and tender texture.
- Salted butter: I like to use regular butter as the saltiness adds a sweet and salty element to the bun. Make sure you use chilled butter as it makes it easier to cut it into squares and put them in the center of the dough.
- Unsalted butter: Unsalted butter gives the topping that buttery aroma and delicious crumbly texture.
- Granulated sugar: Sugar gives the cookie crust sweetness! If you prefer a sweeter cookie crust feel free to increase this sugar amount.
- Large egg: An egg binds all the ingredients together.
- All-purpose flour: The flour forms the structure of the cookie crust! You can use cake flour for a crumblier crust if you prefer.
- Instant coffee powder: We use instant coffee powder in the topping as it is the easiest way to get an intense coffee flavor without adding too much moisture to the topping.
- Hot water: Hot water is added to dissolve the coffee powder.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does this last?
Bread is always best the day it is baked as it is the softest and fluffiest texture. As bread sits it will start to become stale.
These buns are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven when the bread is soft, the butter inside is melted and the cookie crust on top is still crunchy.
If you are eating them after they have cooled down I'd recommend heating them up in the toaster oven or air fryer to bring them back to that delicious texture.
Why are my buns dense?
There are a couple of reasons why your buns are dense:
- The yeast was old/dead
- Active yeast was used and it wasn't activated before being added to the dough
- The milk added was too hot, killing the yeast
- The dough was under kneaded
Why did my buns flatten?
There are a number of factors that can cause flat buns:
- The flour that you used was too weak, try to use bread flour when possible as this provides the structure for your dough
- Too much milk was added/ the dough was too wet
- The dough wasn't rolled into tight enough buns
- The bread dough was over-proofed, causing them to deflate once baked
Can I make these without the coffee?
Yes, you definitely can make these without the coffee. While they won't be coffee buns you can still make delicious flavors!
You can try adding cocoa powder, matcha powder, or even loose-leaf teas instead of coffee for a different flavor. Or you can leave the flavoring out altogether and add a splash of vanilla extract for a plainer, but equally delicious bun.
Let's Get Cooking!
The smell of coffee buns, while they are baking, is so incredible, and when you finally take a bite of these soft and fluffy buns, trust me you're going to fall in love.
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how you went.
Also, don't forget to tag me on Instagram @catherine.desserts and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts. Follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, and TikTok for more of my baking creations and updates! Until next time... happy caking!Print
Coffee Bun Recipe
Soft and fluffy milk bread filled with melted butter and topped with a sweet and crunchy coffee cookie crust
- Prep Time: 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 8 buns 1x
- Category: Bread
- Method: Intermediate
- Cuisine: Malaysian
- 300g Bread flour (2 cups)
- 50g Granulated sugar (¼ cup)
- Pinch of salt
- 16g Milk powder (2 tbsp)
- 5g Instant yeast (1 tsp)
- 200ml Whole milk, lukewarm (¾ cup 1 tbsp)
- 30g Unsalted butter (2 tbsp), room temperature
- 80g Unsalted butter (Chilled, cut into 10g squares per bun)
- 80g Unsalted butter, softened (⅓ cup)
- 65g Granulated sugar (⅓ cup)
- 1 Large egg, room temperature
- 80g All-purpose flour (⅔ cup)
- 4g Instant coffee powder (3 tsp)
- 1 tbsp Hot water
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt, milk powder, and instant yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or in a large bowl
- Add the lukewarm milk and mix until a rough dough ball forms
- Add the unsalted butter and knead for 10-15 minutes with the stand mixer, or approx 20 minutes by hand until smooth and elastic
- Roll into a ball, place in a bowl and cover with cling wrap
- Place the bowl in a warm spot to proof for 60-90 minutes, or until doubled in size
- Once doubled in size remove the dough from the bowl and punch out any air
- Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces
- Flatten each piece and put a small square of butter (10g) in the center
- Enclose the cubed butter by pinching the edges of the dough together and rolling it into a ball
- Place the dough balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover them with cling wrap
- Place the tray in a warm spot to proof for 30-60 minutes, or until almost doubled in size
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180C/355F
- Combine the instant coffee powder and hot water together in a small bowl, and set aside
- Combine the softened butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until smooth
- Add the egg and whisk until well combined
- Add the slightly cooled coffee mixture and whisk until smooth
- Sift in the flour and mix until just combined
- Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a small round nozzle
- Uncover the proofed buns and pipe swirls of the coffee topping over the top of the buns
- Then bake the buns for 15 minutes, or until cooked through
- Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy warm!
Keywords: coffee buns, roti boy, pappiroti, mexican, malaysian, melon pan, concha