Do you know what Pappa Roti is? It is a Malaysian chain that makes coffee buns and a variety of teas. The bun itself has a crisp thin coffee flavored exterior and then right in the middle of that pillowy goodness is a pat of melty butter. I made several batches of these buns last week to get to the right Pappa Roti Recipe.
My love for these buns comes from Karachi trips which always involve multiple trips to Dolmen Mall. For the longest time Pappa Roti was on the main floor of the mall and a regular Jafri hangout. It was one of the things everyone liked to eat and I have spent many hours sitting at those wicker tables and chairs hanging out with the people I love most.
Last weeks Pappa Roti bun obsession was probably fueled largely by the people I was missing not the buns we ate together. It is hardly the thing I should have been baking with Ramadan preps seeming to be the theme of the day, but Bakers Gotta Bake and so two batches of bun and three variations on the coffee topping later here we are -at the Pappa Roti Recipe that gives me straight up JOY.
What Goes in a Pappa Roti Bun?
A Pappa roti bun has basically three components - none of which require anything fancy
- Dough - milk, yeast, flour, sugar, salt, egg, butter
- Filling - frozen butter and some of the above dough
- Topping - icing sugar, butter, instant coffee (the black kind), eggs, vanilla extract, flour.
Here are some things I did with this recipe to make it easier for me.
- I wrap the cold butter in dough before that dough has risen. Otherwise I had to add another 30 minutes to my bake time and it didn't seem worth it.
- Speaking of butter, I like some but not a lot in my buns. Here a stick of butter is 8 tbsp so I put 3 in the dough and the remaining 5 in the bun
- Window pane - the perfect bun texture requires getting to a windowpane dough. That means when you stretch it it becomes so so thin you can see through it like a windowpane. I stop just before in order to avoid the risk of over kneading it
- Vanilla Extract in the topping. This isn't traditional, but it does awesome things for the flavour so we shall keep it ok?
How do you make this Pappa Roti Recipe?
Step One: Knead dough until it becomes pliable and elastic - 8 minutes on medium high speed. Rest the dough for an hour.
Step Two: Before resting though take out a piece of the dough and wrap it around six pieces of butter, then freeze
Step Three: Make the topping
Step Four: Divide the risen dough into six pieces and form buns, placing a pat of frozen butter inside each
Step Five: Let them rise covered for 45 minutes
Step Six: Pipe on the topping and bake!
Other Tasty Bakes!
Pappa Roti Recipe
- Stand Mixer (ideal, but you can knead by hand too)
- 2 ¼ tsp yeast (I used instant/quick rise)
- ½ cup warm milk
- 2 cups flour
- 4 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 egg
- 3 tbsp butter
- 5 tbsp butter cut into equal pieces, freeze after cutting
- dough from above recipe
- ⅓ cup Icing Sugar
- 4 tbsp Butter (room temperature)
- 2 tsp coffee dissolved in 2 tsp hot water
- 1 egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup flour
- Combine the dough ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer, and use the dough hook to stir on low till combined then turn the speed up to 6 and knead for 5 minutes.
- If the dough feels sticky add another tbsp of flour and knead for another 3-4 minutes at which point if you pick up a piece of dough and stretch it it will be nice and elastic and not break (see video)
- Break a small piece off this dough, about golf ball sized, and wrap it around the frozen butter pieces and put them back in the freezer. The dough should stretch in a very thin film around the butter - a too thick dough won't bake through or give you a doughy center.
- Leave the remaining dough to rise for an hour in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a kitchen towel inside a draft free space (I put it inside my oven with the oven off).
- After an hour give your rise dough a quick turn by hand and divide it into six equal pieces. Flatten each piece out into a circular shape, place the pat of frozen butter inside and form a circle making sure the bottom is well sealed.
- Leave them to rise on a lined baking tray for 45 minutes. Gently cover the top with a kitchen towel or a piece of plastic wrap. The dough balls will expand some but this step is important for the texture of the buns!
- Beat the icing sugar and butter together, first on low for the icing sugar to incorporate then on higher speed. Best to do this with a hand mixer or a whisk
- Now add the egg and whip then the vanilla and coffee. The mix may look curdled and that's fine.
- Mix in the flour until just combined then put your coffee topping in an icing bag or use a ziploc instead of one.
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Snip a 1 cm piece off the end of the icing bag and pipe the coffee topping on in swirls over the coffee buns, making sure to cover the surface
- Bake for 17 minutes - the coffee buns should be a medium brown and well domed. Dig in!
Kiran Arif says
Thanks for an amazing recipe!! I had a question regarding butter ratios. You have asked to divide the 5tbsp of butter for the wrapping of the small bits of dough but the number of balls are 6. Are you dividing the butter for each ball to be less than a tbsp?
Hi Kiran! That's absolutely correct!
Planning to make these tomorrow, but very confused about the frozen butter wrapped in dough. Do you remove and discard the dough before stuffing the butter in the buns? Or do you place the entire dough wrapped butter inside the dough for the bun?
All of it inside the bun! Just make sure to use a thin piece of dough for the wrapping! There is a video also in this post which may help. Can't wait to hear how it goes!
Hello Sarah, thank you for sharing this recipe. Do you recommend trying this if we don’t have a kitchen aid? What would the kneading times be if doing it by hand? I am in the process of making these and kneaded by hand for almost 20 mins but still didn't get that elasticity like your video lol.
Hi Haniya! Oh gosh - so honestly this is a recipe I too made pre kitchen aid stand mixer and it took me FOREVER which is why I didn't even attempt it again until I got one. It did take me roughly 20 minutes of kneading (woh bhi ghussay wali) to get the right texture when I did it by hand. In short no i wouldn't personally do it by hand again
Tried these and they were absolutely delicious! Last time I had one of these buns was about 5 years ago. Having these brought back memories of enjoying these in Dubai when it would rain once in a blue moon. Everyone loved the buns, thank you Sarah for sharing this delicious recipe! It was a really easy recipe to follow as well- most papparoti bun recipes are honestly pretty complicated, which is why I never attempted making them in the past. Highly encourage everyone to make these!!
Wonderful Recipe Sarah! I had been craving papa roti buns for so long, just the recipe I needed to feel satiated, once more!
I am SO SO glad to hear that Areej!
I love, love the texture and flavour of these buns! Had to try the famous papparoti for myself, after some friends raved about it and this recipe didn't let me down:) One thing though I'd like to check is, in one of my batches the butter melted and flowed out of the bottom of buns while baking-what do you think could have been the issue?
Sarah Mir says
glad to hear you liked the recipe!!!! So I've had the butter flowing out issue as well (there were many many many test batches before I got to this recipe) and I found that happened most when my dough wasn't frozen enough because it melts in that second rise anyway.
Do you know if the dough can be proofed overnight for the first proof?
I’d love to make these for breakfast and a make ahead option would be great.
These look amazing and I cannot wait to make them. And reminisce about dolmen mall trips
Sarah Mir says
Hi Zehra! It totally can! let me know how they turn out!
Hi Sarah! I’m so looking forward to making this. I miss papparoti! Did you use all purpose flour or wheat? And salted or unsalted butter?
Sarah Mir says
All purpose always! for the butter it's entirely upto you - they use salted butter, but I typically only have unsalted so that's what I use!
Can't find your video anywhere??
Sarah Mir says
Hey Ally! Above the recipe card is now related/recommended recipes. The video is right above that!
Hi , can we let the dough (first step ) to rise for few hours in the oven ( which is off ) and then the second round of dough to rise for another few hours ?
Or once’s rises from the first step should I put it in the fridge ?
Then just about an hour or 2 before remove and keep it for it to come back to room temp ?
Sarah Mir says
Hi Samara! I am guessing you are trying to time it according to your needs. So in general yes you can refrigerate the dough after a rise if you are trying to stretch the time. The second rise is where it's most tricky because you don't want the butter inside to melt. If you need to wait to bake after the second rise then I'd suggest refrigerating