Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Coffee Buns (aka Roti Buns)

Coffee Bun from Roti Mum

SM Mall of Asia in the Philippines is the biggest mall I've ever been to. It's crazy. Walking around the mall will make you tired and hungry. And then I smelled something really good. I followed it and found this store which had a sign: "Singapore's Best Coffee Buns". Roti Mum coffee buns. It is a butter bun with a filling that reminds me of Spanish Bread coated with a crisp, coffee-flavored sugar topping.

I was hooked. The combination of sweet (sugar), salty (butter) and bitter (coffee) struck a balance in my tongue. I knew I just had to learn how to make it on my own once we get back to the states.

Coffee Bun from Kopiroti
After a quick search, I found quite a few recipes. I picked this one and halved it so I won't waste too much just in case I mess up. I prefer to weigh my ingredients but I tried my best to give the volume equivalent of each one.

Tools I Used:

Yield: 6-7 buns



  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup (35 g) brown sugar
  • 7 tablespoons (100 g) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup (80 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon hot water
  • 1-1/2 cup (100 g) all-purpose flour


  • 2 cups (250 g) bread flour, sifted
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons (10 g) powdered dry milk, sifted
  • 1/4 cup (37.5) white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (4 g) yeast
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (135 g) water or milk (do not use powdered milk if using milk)
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter, softened

For the filling: Beat butter in electric mixer on medium speed with paddle attachment for 3 minutes. Blend in vanilla and brown sugar. Spoon mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until firm.

Divide mixture into 1" balls. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. (I used my cookie scoop for my portions.)

For the topping: Beat butter and powdered sugar in mixer on medium speed with paddle attachment until mixture is light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Dissolve the 1 tbsp coffee powder in 1/2 tbsp hot water. Gradually beat in the egg and coffee in mixture. Sift all-purpose flour onto mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Take it out of the refrigerator and leave out for 5 minutes before you use the topping).

For the dough: Sift together bread flour, white sugar, powdered milk (if using water instead of milk) and salt. Mix in electric mixer with dough hook for 1 minute. Mix in yeast. Add water (or milk) and egg. Mix on low speed for 1 minute. And then mix on medium speed for 8 minutes, use a spatula as needed to scrape bowl. Add the butter and mix until a soft, smooth and elastic (not sticky) dough forms, about 5 minutes. You may add bread flour as needed. Remove dough and shape into a ball.

Divide dough into 6-7 equal portions (about 73 grams each). Roll each portion into a ball. Cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.

To assemble: Flatten a ball of dough with the palm of your hand. Place a ball of filling in the center of the dough.

Gather the edge and pinch to seal. Make sure you seal well or the filling will leak out during baking. Pat into shape and placed in a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat. Repeat with remaining portions of dough. Place each bun about 3 inches apart on tray. Cover and let it rise (proof) for 45 minutes until almost double in size.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Pipe the topping (make sure it's been out of the refrigerator for at least 5 minutes for ease of piping) on the buns in a spiral, starting from the center.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until buns are lightly brown.

Coffee Buns (Roti Buns)


  1. A friend had a problem making the dough rise. Here's a solution. Activate the yeast separately before adding into the dough mix. Combine the warm milk (or water) with the yeast and wait 10 minutes. You can tell that the yeast has been activated when it bubbles up.

  2. You can also make a choco bun variety by substituting the coffee powder with cocoa powder.

  3. Hi
    I got problem with smell
    The side portion of bun smells slightly coffee, but the top center portion smells like flour. How can I avoid this flour or bread smell from the bun.

  4. Hi
    I got problem with smell
    The side portion of bun smells slightly coffee, but the top center portion smells like flour. How can I avoid this flour or bread smell from the bun.

    1. I'm sorry. I'm not sure how to avoid that smell. I actually love the bread smell.

  5. Hi! Can I use all-purpose flour instead of bread flour? Thanks. :)

    1. I hope my reply is not too late. Yes, you may substitute bread flour with all-purpose flour. It just might not rise higher than expected.

  6. hi! im not good at baking anything bread related and as expected, it didnt turn out well, i mixed bread flour, wheat flour, and all purpose flour together. is it suppose to work?
    u made it look so easy, but i fail almost every step :/

  7. i don't have an electric mixer. what can i use as an alternative? if i knead the dough by hand, how long should it be?

  8. Thank you for this recipe! I will try it this weekend... it seems simple enough for me. I hope it comes out just like Roti Mum (they really are way better than other places I tried in the Philippines... their MOA location is also for sale!).

  9. Hi. I tried this recipe today, it did not turn out so well, topping did not melt at all. Is there any reason for that? I followed your recipe, did not alter anything.

  10. Hi. I had the same problem as the previous commenter. Topping didn't melt as well even though I followed your recipe exactly. Any suggestions on what to do? Thanks.

  11. new idea for roti bun best make for at home
    thank you for sharing

  12. Same here the topping didnt melt and the bread itself is so hard.

  13. Thanks for this recipe! Just did it for the first time and seems like fine.


  14. Thanks for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information.
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  15. I only used a cup of flour in the topping and it melted really well.

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  17. i had the same problem...the bun itself did not rise much...also,the topping became did not melt...totally not a good recipe...


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