food 4 tots

Wholemeal Milk Buns

Wholemeal Buns, Milk Buns, Kopitiam Milk Buns, Sponge Dough, Bread Making, Buns, Toddler, Kids, Healthy



Source: Adapted and modified from:
1) Vinnie Baking Paradise
2) Siew Hwei’s Kitchen

Make: 15 buns@38g each
Size of baking tray: 12.5” x 9” x 0.5” ( 32cm x 23cm x 1.5cm)


Starter dough:
114g bread flour (high protein flour)
100g wholemeal bread flour (note 1)
128g cold milk
2g instant dry yeast

Main dough:
92g bread flour
12g full cream milk powder  (note 2)
3g instant dry yeast
15g cold milk
30g egg (note 3)
3g (½ teaspoon) salt
45g castor sugar
45g unsalted butter (softened at room temperature)


  1. Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Use hand or kitchen mixer to knead until dough is formed (about 2-3 minutes). Transfer to a lightly greased bowl, spray some water on the dough and cover the bowl with cling wrap. Let it prove at room temperature for 4-5 hours or in the refrigerator for 14-16 hours (note 4).
  2. Place all the ingredients (except for butter) for main dough into the mixing bowl.  Tear starter dough (no need to thaw for overnight dough) piece by piece and add to the bowl. Fix on the dough hook and switch on the kitchen mixer.Let the machine knead with low speed (speed no. 1) till a rough dough is formed. Increase speed to medium low (speed no. 2) and knead until the dough is soft and stretchable (but not at the “membrane test” stage (note 5)). Add butter, change speed to low (speed no. 1) and continue kneading until the butter is fully absorbed into the dough. Increase speed to medium low (speed no. 2) and knead until the dough is stretchable and reaches the “membrane test” stage (note 5).
  3. Round the dough, transfer to a lightly greased bowl and spray some water on it. Cover with cling wrap and let it rest for 25 minutes at room temperature until it is doubled in size. Test the dough to see if it is ready (note 6) .
  4. After resting, gently punch down to deflate the dough. Divide the dough into 15 portions with 38g each (note 7). Round each portion into a ball shape and seal the bottom tightly.
  5. Arrange the buns on a baking tray (greased with softened butter). Spray some water onto the buns. Place the tray inside the oven with door close and no heat. Proof for one hour until double the size. Place a cup of boiling water inside to create moisture.
  6. 10 minutes before the proofing ends, remove the tray from the oven and preheat the oven at 170°C (note 8).
  7. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Spray some water onto the buns before transferring to the oven.
  8. Remove the buns from tray and let them cool down on a cooling rack.


  1. You can use 100% bread flour.
  2. Baker’s dry milk (milk powder) is high heat treated and make your bread better in term of texture, flavour and colour. It can be purchased in local baking supplier shops. Do not use normal baby milk powder as substitute. If you don’t have, you can replace with bread flour. (Click on the link to read more: Prepared Pantry)
  3. Break your egg into a bowl and beat with folk until the yolk and white are well mixed. Take 30g from the mixture.
  4. I had stored my initial dough for more than 2.5 days and it still worked well.
  5. Take a small piece of dough, gently stretch it outwards at all the directions to form a thin layer of “membrane”. This is called “membrane test”. If not, continue kneading until it reaches this stage.
  6. With a flour dusted finger, poke a hole into the centre of the dough. If the hole remains,  it’s ready.
  7. You can divide the dough into any sizes you want. For example, 16 portions with 35g each to fit into a square cake tin of 9”x9”x 3″.
  8. The stated temperature and time should only be used as a reference. Different ovens have different temperature setting. It also depends on the size of buns and baking tray you use.
  9. If the buns show uneven colour, turn the tray 180 degree after baking for 10 minutes.
  10. If the surface of the buns become too brown after 10 minutes, cover the top with a piece of aluminium foil and continue baking.
  11. You can keep these buns in the freezer for future consumption. Cut them into half (slice horizontally) and place into an air-tight bag. You can either toast it (do spray some water onto it before toasting) or steam it.


Wholemeal Buns, Milk Buns, Kopitiam Milk Buns, Sponge Dough, Bread Making, Buns, Toddler, Kids, Healthy

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  1. wokandspoon says:

    These buns look amazing and so uniform! They look perfect!

  2. Jaclyn says:

    Hi, how do I measure out 2gm of yeast? The amount is too small for my digital scale to pick up.

    • food-4tots says:

      Jaclyn: 1gm is about 1/4 teaspoon and 2gm is about 1/2 teaspoon. What is the smallest reading for your digital scale? You can add a bowl to increase the weight and then add in the yeast. 🙂

  3. tigerfish says:

    They look so perfect! Great to have homemade wholemeal buns 🙂

  4. Adeline says:

    Hi, read your blog and notice you are using rowenta oven. May I know do you use the bread proofing menu to proof your bread? Also you using tradition mode at 170 temperature? I been trying to bake bread but no one to ask about the temperature control and my bread turn out to be hard the next morning. Hope you can provide me some tips.

    • food-4tots says:

      Adeline: I had used Rowenta Gourmet 38L oven before but it didn’t have the bread proofing menu. For this recipe, I proofed my bread with my new Delonghi oven. I just placed the bread inside the oven without having to switch the power on. The problem you faced may be due to several reasons. Please give this recipe a try and see how it turns out. 🙂

  5. Looks so perfect and awesome.. wonderfully prepared.. great job 😀

  6. lily says:

    The buns look so appetising! Wondering if it will work if I put in some fillings like kaya or red bean?

  7. Joanna says:

    hi can i use this recipe on breadmaker?

  8. Cafe says:

    wholemeal milk buns look awesome 🙂 Really mouthring.. thank you so much for sweet sweet compliment:)

  9. JJmum says:

    Hi, am I right to assume wholemeal bread flour is the same as wholemeal flour? I have package of Prima Wholemeal flour and would like to try this recipe.

    • food-4tots says:

      JJmum: There are 2 types of wholemeal flour. I used the fine type. Prima Wholemeal is the coarse one, similar to wholewheat flour. You can use either one. 🙂

  10. uyia says:

    I tried to prepare the overnight dough yesterday but after 16 hours, the dough is still about the same size. Is this correct? Or does that mean that my overnight dough is a failure?

  11. petitpoix says:

    I would like to try this recipe but before I start, could you please clarify whether the yeast in both the starter and main dough needs to be activated with warm water & sugar before combining with the rest of the ingredients?


  12. petitpoix says:

    I finally tried making these! overall a successful first attempt for a novice baker =)

    The dough in the fridge did not really expand that much (i used instand dry yeast). And it took me quite long on the kitchenaid to achieve the membrane stage.

    Turned out pretty good but rather dense and small as the dough did not rise alot. The texture was a nice crust on the outside and soft on the inside. But not as spongey or airy as i thought it would be. Any idea how to introduce more air into it?

  13. Loges says:

    I tried making the starter dough following your recipe but seems like my dough is quite hard and dry. From the word sponge I assume it should be wet and soft. Does the type of flour make a difference? I notice my whole meal flour is quite coarse.

    • food-4tots says:

      Loges: Sponge is just a terminology for initial dough. The texture is not necessary wet and soft. Yes, different type of flour needs different amount of water. You can adjust the water when you form the second dough not the initial dough. But be careful when you add water. Add bits by bits. 🙂

  14. Michelle Poh says:

    Hi, The mixing part of the receipe, can we use hand? or we need to have that mixer?

  15. waynice says:

    Can the sugar be reduced for this?

  16. laiching says:

    hi, you mentioned that you put your initial dough for 2.5 days. Do you mean you put your dough in the fridge?

    or else, can I put in the fridge to proof? do i have to proof the first round, shape it and then only put in fridge for 2nd proofing? How do I go about it? Do i have to punch down while it proofs in the fridge?

    I love fresh bread in the morning but i dont have enough time to proof and bake it.

    • food-4tots says:

      LaiChing: If you want to do it on the same day, you can proof it for 4-5 hours at the room temperature. If not, you need to proof it in the fridge for at least 14 hours. There is no need to do any shaping or deflating the air from the dough after the 1st proof. You just have to add the first (initial or starter dough) to the rest of the ingredients as mentioned in step 2. 🙂

  17. Adeline Lee says:

    Hi hi. I tried making this buns but it does not come out soft like the buns we get in the stores. Wonder what went wrong. Is it possible that the dough is over knead?

    • food-4tots says:

      Adeline Lee: It is difficult to troubleshoot your problem as I didn’t see the actual process. Every step plays a role in contributing to the success of your bread. Other than kneading, proofing and baking temperature may also be the culprits too.

      However, under the normal circumstances, homemade buns will not be as super soft as those sold in the store because there is no bread improver. Your bread texture will be softer if:
      a) 100% of the flour is bread flour
      b) High in sugar
      c) High in fat (more butter)
      d) Increase the amount of yeast
      e) Longer fermentation

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