Ingredients for the glaze:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tbsp honey
Pinch of saffron
Boil the sugar, water and saffron together for a few minutes until it is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add the honey. Mix and set aside to cool completely.
Ingredients for the buns:
3½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp milk powder
3 tbsp sugar
1½ tsp instant yeast
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk, warmed slightly
½ cup water, warmed slightly (might use less)
4 tbsp oil (I use canola oil)
4 tbsp melted butter
6-8 portions/triangles of cream cheese (Laughing Cow/Kiri etc)
1 beaten egg for eggwash before baking
1) Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, milk powder, sugar, yeast and salt.)
2) Then add the oil, melted butter and the egg, and mix together.
3) Now add all the warm milk. Start kneading together and gradually add the warm water a little at a time. You might not need it all, so add it sparingly until your dough is nice and soft. Knead for a good 8-10 minutes. The more you knead it the softer the buns will be.
4) Touch a bit of oil with your fingertips and apply all over the ball of dough. Cover in a bowl (not airtight)and set aside for 40mins to an hour for it to double in size. The oven (switched off) is a good place for the dough to rise as it is free from draft and a bit warmer than room temperature..
5) Punch it down, and break off tiny bits of dough. You should get about 40 tiny pieces out of this. Take each piece of dough, and stretch it out with your fingers, then add a small piece of cheese in its center. Bring the edges together and form a ball so that the cheese is completely enclosed within the dough. Repeat this with all the dough.
6) Grease your pan/pans with butter and sprinkle some flour. Line the pans with parchment paper and grease again. This ensures that the buns come out easily after baking.
7) Place the balls of dough in a ‘honeycomb’ pattern in the pan. Try to get them close to each other so that there are no or very little spaces in between. When they bake , the balls will expand and the spaces between them will be filled so that the entire bread comes out in one piece (like a cake).
8) Cover the pans and set aside for a second rise, about half an hour.
9) Now apply egg wash on the balls.
10) Preheat your oven to 180 C and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until the bread is nice and golden on top.
11) Remove from the oven and pour your syrup all over the hot bread. Remember that the syrup needs to be cool and the bread needs to be steaming hot straight from the oven. Turn it out and place on a rack to cool and for the syrup to glaze slightly. I prefer my buns to be very mildly sweet, so I just use a pastry brush to lightly glaze the buns with the syrup. If you want you can pour the entire syrup over the buns.