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A homemade milk bun on a plate.

Soft and Fluffy High Altitude Milk Buns

Heather Smoke
These easy-to-make, soft and fluffy milk buns make a perfect pull-apart dinner roll that stays soft for days.

All recipes on Curly Girl Kitchen are developed for high altitude at 5,280 feet.

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Rising Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 25 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American, Chinese
Servings9 rolls


  • Stand Mixer with Dough Hook
  • Small Saucepan
  • Medium-Sized Bowl



  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 tbsp bread flour


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) active dry or instant/rapid rise yeast
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 3 cups bread flour, spooned and leveled
  • 1 tsp coarse Kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature

Egg Wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tbsp whole milk


Make the Tangzhong

  • In a small saucepan, whisk together the water, milk and flour. Cook over medium heat for several minutes, whisking constantly, until it thickens into a paste.
  • Remove from the heat, scrape the tangzhong into a small bowl, and refrigerate to cool it down while you make the dough.

Make the Dough

  • In the same saucepan you used to make the tangzhong (no need to wash the pan first), melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the milk, and warm the mixture just until it reaches between 110-115 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Remove from the heat. Stir in the yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Let sit for a few minutes until it starts to get bubbly.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all but 1/2 cup of the flour with the remainder of the sugar, the warm yeast mixture, the cooled tangzhong, salt and egg.
  • With the dough hook, knead the dough for 10 minutes, gradually adding the remaining 1/2 cup of flour. The dough should be smooth, and will wrap around the dough hook, but may still stick to the bottom of the bowl. Don't be tempted to add more flour, though, or the buns will be dense.
  • Scrape the dough into a greased bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size. This could take anywhere from 45-90 minutes, depending on the freshness/brand of yeast, and how warm your kitchen is.
    If your oven has a bread proof setting, you can use that. Otherwise, preheat your oven to the lowest setting, turn it off, then set the dough inside to rise.

Shape the Buns

  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and flour the top of the dough, too. Gently roll the dough out into a square, about 1/2 inch thick.
  • Cut the dough into 9 equal portions for large buns, or 12 portions for medium sized buns.
  • Take a piece of dough, cup it in your hand, and pinch the dough together to form it into a bun, so that it's smooth on top and pinched on the bottom.
  • Place the buns, smooth side facing up, into a greased 9-inch baking dish (or a 9x13 baking dish for 12 buns).
  • Cover the pan loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and set aside until the buns are starting to puff up, about 20-30 minutes.


  • Preheat the oven to 350 F, and position a rack in the center of the oven.
  • For the egg wash, whisk together the egg and milk, and brush the egg wash over the buns. This will give them a beautiful golden brown shine as they bake.
  • Bake the milk buns for about 22-25 minutes, until golden brown on top and baked through.
  • Let cool for a few minutes, then pull the buns apart and serve warm.


Store leftover buns in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.  To reheat, place the buns in the oven and warm them at 300 degrees F for about 5-7 minutes.
Keyword Dinner Rolls, Milk Buns, Tangzhong, Yeast Rolls
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