July 1, 2021

Nutella-Stuffed Milk Bread Buns

Nutella-Stuffed Milk Bread Buns

Growing up in Singapore with a neighborhood bakery on every corner, I'd spend my pocket money after school purchasing one of these "anpan" or red bean stuffed buns. Best when warm out of the oven, these buns were a special treat and something I always looked forward to.

I recently started making my own bread at home, typically making Japanese milk bread because for a non-bread baker like me, I needed something practically foolproof! And so this recipe is exactly that. Tasty, pillowy-soft and easy to make, I decided to make a Nutella-stuffed bun using this bread recipe. This bread recipe is a typical one for shokupan or Japanese milk bread. I've tweaked this recipe several times to my family's tastes and this is my go-to for when I want home-made bread either in loaf form (using a pullman pan) or formed into buns for stuffing. If you do decide to use a chocolate spread for the stuffing over the traditional red bean paste typically used, make sure you freeze the individual chocolate balls used as stuffing for at least two hours otherwise you'll end up with a very messy scene on your hands :)

What can I stuff this bun with? 

Traditional "Anpan" or red bean bun is stuffed with sweetened red beans (also known as adzuki beans in Japan). Other stuffing suggestions include lotus seed pastes, green bean pastes (using green mung beans) and of course chocolate spreads.

Can I bake this on the same day? 

Since bread dough does need to rise, I usually start this recipe in the morning and allow the first rise to occur over 1.5 to 2 hours. I then form the dough into balls and allow an hour for the second rise before baking. On this schedule, you could have your buns ready for afternoon snack time. You could split the labor over two days and allow the dough to rise in the refrigerator overnight. If you're interested in this schedule, I would start the recipe in the evening and place the formed dough for the first rise overnight. I'd leave the dough on the counter the next morning and allow it to reach room temperature before proceeding with forming the dough into individual balls. The second rise should be done at room temperature.

Nutella-Stuffed Milk Bread Buns

These cute little buns filled with Nutella are the perfect afternoon snack treat for hungry kids coming home from school!


Shilpa Iyer













For the filling

  • 10 Nutella balls, made from 1 tsp of Nutella/ball, rolled and placed in freezer for at least 2 hours

For the starter (tangzhong)

  • 2 Tbsp bread flour
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 4 Tbsp water

For the dough -

  • 113g milk (1/2 cup), boiled and returned to room temperature
  • 300g bread flour (2.5 cups)
  • 10g dry milk powder (1.5 Tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoon butter, softened

For the bun topping

  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 Tbsp of water for the egg wash
  • toasted black and white sesame seeds for garnishing each bun


  1. For the filling, measure out approximately 10 teaspoons of Nutella to form 10 separate balls. Place each ball onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for at least two hours to harden. This will make it much easier to handle when it comes time to stuffing the dough with the Nutella.
  2. To make the tangzhong or starter, in a small pot, combine the flour, milk and water and stir gently and continuously over low heat until there are no lumps. The mix will eventually come together and form a gel-like substance. This takes about 2 minutes and you'll know it is done when your spatula leaves lines at the bottom of the pot as you stir. Set aside.
  3. In a separate small pot, bring the milk to a boil and immediately turn off the heat. Set aside until it cools down to room temperature.
  4. In a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment, add the flour, milk powder, sugar, yeast and salt and whisk until well combined.
  5. Once the scalded milk has returned to room temperature, add the tangzhong and egg to the milk and whisk until well incorporated.
  6. With the stand mixer on low, pour the milk-egg mixture gently into the dry ingredients.
  7. Continue mixing for approximately 5-7 minutes until a smooth, soft dough forms. The dough should feel elastic and stretch a bit when pulled.
  8. With the dough hook running on low, add the softened butter until it incorporates completely into the dough. Approximately 4-5 minutes.
  9. Transfer the dough into a bowl and cover loosely with a towel. This can be done on a kitchen counter.
  10. Allow the dough to rise, which should take approximately 1.5-2 hours. Alternatively, the dough may be placed in the refrigerator overnight to rise at a slow pace.
  11. Once the dough has risen slightly after 1.5-2 hours, shape the dough into 10 round balls and place them on a large tray covered with a towel. If the dough was refrigerated overnight, allow the dough to come to room temperature (approximately 1 hour) before proceeding with shaping the balls.
  12. Allow the shaped balls to rise a second time, this time for approximately 1 hour. The dough should leave a small indent but spring back slightly when pressed.
  13. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  14. Carefully flatten each ball to approximately 1/2 in thick and place a frozen Nutella ball in the center of the dough. Gather up the sides of the dough to completely cover the Nutella filling. Reshape the balls slightly so they remain round. Repeat for all 10 balls.
  15. Once each ball has been formed, brush the egg wash on each bun and sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds on top. For a more traditional look of Japanese Anpan (red bean filled buns) where the sesame seeds form a circle on top of the bread, use a 1in wooden dowel or wooden cocktail muddler or a pestle with a flat round top and dip that into the egg wash. Immediately dip the same end into the sesame seeds and place that on each bun. This will act like a "brand" and will create a sesame seed circle on top of each bun.
  16. Bake the balls for approximately 30 minutes until they are golden on top.
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