Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Kopitiam Milk Buns with Express (Microwave) Caramel Kaya

In Singapore, eating kaya on toast for breakfast is like eating Vegemite on toast in Australia...

As mentioned before, kaya is a traditional name for coconut jam. Made with eggs, sugar and coconut milk, kaya is usually flavoured with pandan and usually consumed like a jam on breads. Depending on the amount of pandan added and the caramelization of its sugar, kaya can be either golden brown or green coloured. I have made the green-coloured version of kaya before and would like to make the caramel (golden brown) version for this post.

I remember having one friend who proposed to me a business plan... During the days that I was a poor and thrifty student studying in Australia, my friend proudly showed me his homemade kaya, made using his student-accommodation microwave. He proposed to make jars and jars of them to sell but I wasn't keen. I didn't want to waste all my time standing in front of the microwave making kaya and so I tasted his kaya and then ignored him. - LOL!

Now knowing that I have to cook kaya for at least an hour to achieve its ideal consistency, I begin to recall my friend's microwaving kaya idea and thought that it is actually brilliant! Here and here are the tips that you can find about cooking kaya using a microwave. Essentially, the trick is to cook the jam with short bursts of low microwave power and stir it frequently. Brilliant? Of course! All for the fact that I don't need to stand in front of a cooking stove for hours just to enjoy a small amount of freshly made kaya.

The caramel kaya recipe that I'm using originates from Sonia from Nasi Lemak Lover. It was later adapted by Esther from Copycake Kitchen, using brown sugar instead of cooking caramel from white sugar. To make my kaya really really really fast, I'm using Esther's adapted kaya recipe and also microwave to cook. Stay tune to see how fast I can make my kaya...

You know... Good kaya must be enjoyed with good breads. These milky buns are beautifully soft kopitiam breads that you wouldn't want to miss! I know it straightaway when I saw them at Esther's and Jeannie's post and they are truly as good as they can be.

Kopitiam Milk Buns with Express mircowave Caramel Kaya
Love these! This is how I made these old-style Kopitiam buns and caramel kaya...
First, I made, shaped and proved these bread dough.
Then, I baked them.
Making this kaya is super-easy... First, I made two types of sugar syrups.
Mix all with bruised-shredded-and-knotted pandan leaves and microwave...
Mix and microwave, mix and microwave, mix and microwave...
Express Microwave Caramel Kaya
My express kaya - Made in less than 15 minutes using microwave!
kopitiam milk buns
Seeing this, I need to eat these soft and fluffy kopitiam milk buns now!
No need to wait... I can eat these breads with freshly made kaya now!

Here are the recipes mostly adapted from Copycake Kitchen

Kopitiam Milk Buns

A : Sponge
215g bread flour
125ml water
20g milk powder
1/2 tsp instant yeast

B: Dough
1 tbsp water
half an egg (30g)
95g bread flour
15g milk powder
50g sugar
5g salt
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast

50g unsalted butter, softened

Using a breadmaker, an electric mixer or by hand, mix and knead ingredient A for about 10-15 mins. Allow the sponge dough to prove at least 4-5 hrs in room temperature or 12-16 hrs / overnight in a fridge.

Using a breadmaker or an electric mixer, mix and knead both sponge dough and all ingredient B (adding butter last) together to form an elastic dough. Allow the dough to prove for 1 hr or until double its size.

Divide dough equally into 9 portions. Shape each portions into balls and place them into a lightly greased 20 cm square baking tin. Allow dough to prove for 1 hr or until their size doubled.

Pre-heat oven at 160°C or 150°C fan forced and bake for 15 mins or until golden brown. Allow buns to cool completely on wire rack before serving.

Express Caramel Kaya

Makes about 100ml

1 large egg, lightly beaten
50g brown sugar
30g caster sugar
125ml coconut milk
(I used Ayam brand light coconut milk)
4 pandan leaves, slightly bruised, shredded lengthwise and knotted

Dissolve brown sugar in 1 tbsp or any minimal amount of boiling water. Allow mixture to cool slightly.

Mix caster sugar with coconut milk in a microwavable bowl, whisk until sugar dissolves slightly.

Microwave coconut milk mixture for 1 min with high power. Remove and stir. Repeat this microwave step for 1 min with high power, remove and stir until sugar has completely dissolved. The mixture should be hot but not boiling. Then, add brown sugar mixture and pandan into the coconut milk mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat egg until combined. Pour egg mixture through a sieve to remove bubbles and also make sure that the egg yolk and white are properly combined.

While the coconut milk mixture is hot, stir with a whisk while pouring in the egg mixture in a stream. The mixture will thicken slightly.

Microwave the mixture again on medium power for 30 secs. Remove and stir. Repeat until kaya develop a slightly translucent texture with a deeper colour and the mixture become relatively thick.

Discard pandan leaves once they are cooked. Repeat microwaving and stirring step until kaya reaches its ideal smooth and creamy texture.

Cool completely before store in a clear jar and keep in the fridge.

Happy Baking and Cooking
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  1. good idea to use microwave to make kaya!

  2. Hi Zoe

    The bread is pretty.

    My microwave is under utilised. I'll try out kaya :D

  3. Hi Zoe , the rolls is so fluffy , light and yummy , thanks for sharing :).

  4. Good morning Zoe!

    What could be a better way than to have breakfast with milk buns and lots of kaya? Your breakfast looks awesome to me. If it were up to me, milk buns with kaya can be eaten at any time of the day :) Your method of cooking the kaya via microwave is absolutely brilliant! I've not heard of this method before but if it works, then why not? I will try this microwave method myself very soon :)

  5. yes, you are right..to cook kaya on the stove, you will have to stand there for an hour or more and keep stirring it. I cannot remember if i have come across making kaya using microwave but i'm actually reading the method now. Glad to know it can be done the express way!

  6. I would like to have a little bun and this kaya, looks sooooo good!

  7. Hi Zoe

    Love the fluffy bun spread with traditional homemade kaya.

    I don't mind having this as breakfast everyday.

  8. I failed at kaya making twice, waiting patiently for your tutorial! Buns' awesome!

  9. That's a very brilliant way of making kaya! The idea of not having to stand and sweat in front of the stove for hours is very welcoming :) Pairing it with soft milk buns is just yummy!

  10. ivy sew http://simplybeautifulhealthyliving.blogspot.comSeptember 10, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Zoe, Very homey buns and love this with hot kopi-o, yumyum...

  11. Hi Zoe, Nigella makes caramel sauce in the microwave too. Wish I could try both kaya and caramel using the microwave but don't have one in our current home!

  12. Homemade kaya is the best. My mom makes them often when we were a child. The kaya with the milk buns, I say it's just my kind of breakfast. What time can I come? :)

  13. Making kaya in 15mins. That is fast! Love to pair your buns with kaya n butter :)

  14. Oh wow, I would love to have these fluffy buns with your home made kaya.

  15. what a lovely combination Zoe! thumbs up

  16. Yum-yum-yum-yum! Though I'm not a big fan of kaya, it is the kopitiam buns that I fall in love with! Zoe, this kopitiam bun has been made by nearly all my blogger friends who knows making bread! And it is also in my list for a long time! Love to see them popped up so nicely in the pan!

  17. omg! Zoe you are so good! it really looks like kopitiam style buns and kaya! drooling all over my keyboard now...

  18. Awesome outcome.. Milk buns look fabulous.. Also the freshly prepared spread/kaya is making me drool!

  19. Zoe, very creative to microwave make kaya!! Can share two pieces of your kopitiam milk buns for my supper :)))

  20. I had no idea kaya can be made so easily:) ok, am gonna try this very soon. We eat kaya almost every week haha. Its our staple with bread.

  21. Hi Zoe, I like the consistency of your kaya. Looks smooth and very tasty.

  22. your kopitiam bun and kaya looks delicious! Both make me drooling and unresistable!

  23. I love the kaya colour. Think I can eat it by the spoonful.As usual,beautiful golden rolls.

  24. kaya and bread kopi tiam style my favourite

  25. I haven't had coconut jam since my honeymoon!

  26. the buns look awesome and the kaya sounds delicious. would definitely try both sometime soon.

  27. Hi Zoe,
    Wow, lovely buns and delicious kaya! Making it in the microwave is a great idea. Especially when I only need a small amount!
    Thanks, will give it a try soon!

  28. These buns look so delicious, I feel my mouth water just looking at that caramel kaya :D

    Choc Chip Uru

  29. Honestly, I wish I had some of these right now! The buns look so perfectly soft, and then to spread the caramel on them...heavenly!

  30. Zoe, you have made really gorgeous and fluffy 'pillowy' delicious milk buns, and you kaya is a perfect addition to enjoy these awesome buns with. A clever idea to make kaya in the microwave! xo

  31. Brilliant..my dad loves kaya buns to bits. I will definitely try this out one day. Had no idea kaya-making could be this easy!

  32. 15mins kaya, I also want to make, hehehe..Thanks for the mentioned.

  33. Zoe, love this soft bun with the kaya spread. yummy.

  34. excellent idea to make kaya with caramel...we heart kaya and can have it every single day...and with soft,spongy buns....best treat ever,thanks for sharing this recipe :-)

  35. Lovely.. Love those pics.. They actually speak !

  36. Hi Zoe, looking at your kopitiam rolls makes me want to bake some again, they were really delicious! Microwaved kaya? That sounds too good to be true, I have to try it out myself:D Thanks for the shoutout!

  37. Oh my, the buns look so soft and delicious, I'm actually craving for some now. The express kaya looks great too. How does it compare to the traditional method of cooking it? Maybe I should try using the microwave next time!

    1. Hi Fern,

      I reckon the microwave method is as good as the traditional kaya cooking method. Honestly, I can't really detect any difference :D


  38. Your buns looks soooo delicious. I have not baked bun before except for cinnamon rolls. I am not sure why? Yours look so easy to bake. Will book mark it. Thanks.

  39. Love these buns & I've got to try your kaya recipe! Looks so sedap! ;)

  40. Very match ~ Prefect ! Consider to make it. Ha!ha!ha!

    Thanks for sharing。

  41. I can't remember if I've tried kaya before :P Now , I've baked buns but not as gorgeous as yours ! It looks so soft and fluffy , just a perfect canvas for your diy kaya spread ;D

  42. May I know when should I add the sponge to the bread maker with the dough? Coz usually we need to add Liquid follow by salt, sugar and yeast. So when should i add the sponge? Thanks

    1. Hi,

      According to most bread maker instructions, I will add the liquid ingredients first, then the rest of the ingredients including the sponge and do the butter and yeast last. Will update the order in this post. Cheer!