Homemade “Rotiboy” Mexican Coffee Bun Recipe

Updated February 6, 2009

Originally published February 22, 2007

These buns are to die for.

Homemade “Rotiboy” Mexican Coffee Bun

Homemade

There’s a popular bake shop that started in Malaysia called “Rotiboy“. Their signature product is the Rotiboy bun which is a sweet Mexican butter bun baked with a crisp, coffee-flavored topping. Rotiboy got so popular that they were able to aggressively expand throughout Asia. Many copycats also popped up, but the original Rotiboy is the best.

Hooked on Rotiboy

The last time we were in Malaysia, the cousins brought over a few Rotiboy buns for us to try. I took one bite, and was hooked! I loved how the sweetness of the bun balanced against the saltiness in the butter and the slight bitterness of the coffee.

I quickly gobbled my bun up. Unfortunately, there weren’t many Rotiboy buns to go around so I was left craving for more. The Rotiboy slogan says it all: “One is never enough!

Annie wanted to learn how to make a Rotiboy bun at home and came upon a few recipes. This one comes close.

“Rotiboy” Mexican Coffee Bun Recipe

(makes about 17 buns)

Coffee Topping Ingredients

200 g softened butter
160 g icing sugar
3 lightly beaten eggs
2 tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp water
a pinch of ground cinnamon
200 g flour

Method

Beat the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually beat in eggs. Mix in coffee flavoring. Sift flour onto mixture and mix until combined. Refrigerate the mixture.

Sweet Bun Dough Ingredients

500 g bread flour
20 g milk powder
75 g castor sugar
6 g salt
8 g instant yeast
5 g bread improver (vital wheat gluten – optional)
1 lightly beaten egg
270 g water
60 g softened butter

Method

1. Mix flour, milk powder, sugar and salt in mixer on low speed 1 min.

2. Add in yeast, egg and water. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, then medium speed for 8 minutes.

3. Add butter and mix for 5 minutes more on medium speed until a soft, smooth and elastic dough forms.

4. Remove dough from mixing bowl and shape into a ball.

5. Divide the dough into 55 gram portions. Roll each portion in to a ball and then cover and set aside for 10 minutes.

6. Flatten a ball of dough and place a 10 gram cube of butter into the center of the dough.

filling Rotiboy buns with butter

7. Gather the edges and pinch to seal. Pat into shape and place on a greased baking tray. Proof the buns for 45 minutes.

8. Preheat oven to 200*C (400*F).

(Notice that we’re using the wrappers from sticks of butter to line the baking sheet. Annie learned this tip from Fine Cooking magazine. The butter wrappers are like pre-greased parchment paper!)

9. Scoop the topping mixture into a piping bag and pipe the topping in a spiral pattern onto the buns.

Piping coffee topping onto Rotiboy buns

10. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the buns are lightly brown.

IMG_6473

Remove from oven to cool, but not too long. They are best eaten warm. Can’t eat just one!

Aloha, Nate

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136 Comments Post a Comment
  1. tiangm says:

    >I tried making it & it's great! But if I want the icing top to be sweeter, can I just add more icing sugar or must I reduce the flour as well?

  2. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@tiangm – you can up the sugar, but I would say no more than 50g.

  3. Anonymous says:

    >When you mix the dough, how do you prevent it from being to sticky? When I make it, it was really sticky.

  4. Nate-n-Annie says:

    >@Anonymous – if it's too sticky, sprinkle on a little more flour and mix it in until it feels right.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you have ever made the dough, filling, and topping ahead of time and stored it in the refrigerator/and/or freezer until you wanted to bake it…

    • Nate says:

      Stephanie –

      no we haven’t frozen the components ahead of time before. I suppose you could prepare the topping. The filling is just butter. The bun dough is the question, though. You’re welcome to try and then let us know your results!

      Thanks for the great question.

  6. siongyou says:

    How to prevent the topping from melting and becoming sticky after baking? I always want it to be crisp. Do you use oven with fire source from the top?

    • Celyn Chuah says:

      Hi, may i know that what size or how many grams of eggs does this recipe need for the topping?

    • Nate says:

      I don’t know. Perhaps you can try popping them into the toaster oven to recrisp them? I normally eat them even when they get sticky though they are not as good. And no, my oven’s heat is not from the top.

  7. Mandii says:

    I’ve been dying for Rotiboys since I left Korea this summer. I had the pleasure of living above a Rotiboy Shoppe (best wake up call…EVER!) I was so excited when I saw this recipe, I immediately bought the ingredients and tried it. Well Roti 1.0 was a huge fail, I didn’t have a mixer and the dough was near impossible without one. Then I forgot one of the rising steps and didn’t know what proofing was…it just turned out horrible! So mom and I did some research and went out and bought a mixer (a super pro kind, thinking it’d help our chances) With Roti 2.0 things seemed to go better but when it came to the rising again…nothing =/ They were slighter better in taste but nowhere near what a Rotiboy should be. I am thinking it has to be a problem with the yeast we are using. It says it’s rapid rise active dry yeast. To be safe I just ordered the highest recommended instant yeast and bread improver. I will let you all know how Roti 3.0 goes when the ingredients get here!

    • Nate says:

      Mandii

      Wow, I can imagine how great it must have been to wake up to Rotiboy every day. What a wonderful experience!

      I’m sorry you had such a horrible experience the first time out, but I am impressed with your tenacity!

      I’m wondering if it is perhaps too cold where you are, when you’re trying to get the dough to rise?

      • Mandii says:

        I tried again today with right yeast..it was looking pretty good but still failed. My house is cold, usually around 65deg. I tried to use my oven to help rise the dough. After the first rise everything waa looking good. But for the second rise, 45 min, I’m not sure if the oven was too hot or too much better in the center (Only 10g), the butter leaked all over and left no filling =( Im going to try again woth less heat (I think it was probably 95deg) and less butter…I wil conquer the Rotiboy!

  8. Gamze says:

    Hi I’m Gamze from Türkiye (turkey).I want to try this recipe but I don’t understand tbsp.what’s tbsp?please help me.thank you…

  9. Christine says:

    I am so excited to have found a recipe online! Thank you for posting! I am very eager to try this myself! I have been craving Rotiboy bread for over a year now! I’m from the US and we don’t have Rotiboy here… so you can imagine how ecstatic I am about this! :D Thank you!

    • Nate says:

      Christine –

      thanks for commenting! Do let us know how they turn out for you.

    • Ex-Rotiboy staff says:

      Or suggest you to help us to survey….if there is a potential market at your area….perhaps we can make a new business there :)

      • Eric says:

        Hi ex-rotiboy staff, yes I do have some business for you if you can make the same bun as rotiboy. Where are you based? In Malaysia? Await for your reply soonest possible!

  10. nathalie says:

    hi! tried to make this my dough did not rise. what have i done wrong? thanks!

  11. Michelle says:

    Yay!! I’m so happy to find this recipe online! We used to live in Singapore and moved back to the States in Jun 06. One of the things we miss most is the food and especially Rotiboys! I actually found a bakery that sells them in Santa Clara, CA, but they only make small batches and often run out. My sister and I are going to try this recipe this weekend! Yum!!! I love to bake, but am not very experienced with bread. Wish me luck! Thank you for posting the recipe!!

  12. Michelle says:

    Hi…

    Where can I find bread improver? Is it sold under a specific brand? Have you tried the recipe without it?

    Thanks,
    Michelle

  13. Z. How says:

    Hey, that’s a great recipe! But after I’ve made my Rotiboy, the topping is just like sponge cake! It is not crispy at all.. T.T
    Any suggestion? Will the thickness of the topping affect it? Or half a teaspoon of Bicarbonate Soda will help?

  14. ems says:

    I wanted to try your recipe but how can you convert the grams to cups and tablespoon?
    I tried the recipe from other site but it came out really hard…

  15. ZM says:

    Hi Annie and Nate – thank you for the recipe. I made it yesterday, it turned out as I expected it to be. MARVELOUS!!!! I’ve reduced the recipe for the topping to a 2-egg recipe and measured sugar and butter to be the same quantity. So for a 500g bread, 2-egg recipe for topping is just nice. They were delicious, although the bread opens up and the butter from inside flows out. I shall try again with the smooth bun on top and the sealed from the butter at the bottom. Question, can I reduce the flour for the topping to make it crispier? Again, thank you so much.

  16. Karen D says:

    Hi, I fell in love with Roti Buns when I went on vacation to the Phils. I’ve been looking for a Roti Bun recipe ever since I got back in the States.

    Thanks for posting your recipe and pictures. I also found another recipe here (http://www.coffeequip.com/recipe-found-coffee-bun/). Have you seen this? And what do you think about the filling recipe? I want to try your recipe but use that filling recipe instead.

    Thanks.

  17. Clare says:

    Hi,

    May I ask what brand of milk powder to use?

    Thanks!

  18. Alina says:

    A store called “Papa Roti” just opened in our suburb and I just tried one on the weekend! It’s lovely when it’s hot, and almost as nice cold! Thanks for the recipe. Will hopefully get to try it out soon.

  19. Kate says:

    Hi Annie, thank you for your wonderful recipe. I’ve just made it, but I used finely ground dark-roast Robusta coffee beans. The buns smell so much better than using instant coffee (I mean instant coffee in my country). And it’s kinda exciting to taste the bitter of the topping. However, the colour wasn’t as golden brown as yours…maybe next time, I will use half instant coffee and half ground coffee beans :))
    Hope I have more free time to try your recipes.

  20. Naddy says:

    Hi there!
    Is instant yeast and active dry yeast different?

    :)

  21. Naddy says:

    Hey i would like to make this buns tonight. Any advices if i were to keep the baked buns for tmr morn..will it be still as nice if i reheat? If not.. How do i keep the dough til tmr morn to bake? :) thank you :)

    • Nate says:

      I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner. If you still need the advice, I would say do not bake them the night before. They really taste best right out of the oven. Perhaps you could put the dough in the fridge and leave it out in the morning, an hour or two before you want to eat them and bake them then. I’ve not tried it so I cannot say it will work or not. Let me know if that works for you.

  22. Nat says:

    Hi!

    I live in a tropical climate & the room termperature’s about 28 Deg Celcius. I followed your recipe but unfortunately the buns didn’t even rise! It became a clump of almost burnt dough :(

    Could you figure out why? I’m kinda disappointed :(

    • Nate says:

      Nat

      Thanks for commenting and giving us your report.

      If the dough didn’t rise, then it sounds like your yeast is not active. Did they expand at all during the 45 minute proofing period in Step 7?

  23. edward says:

    what flour you use??

    high protein flour?
    medium protein flour??
    or
    low protein flour???

    and thanks,, i am from indonesia,, i search with google, and find many receips for rotiboy. but your the most i trusted, because the pictures are convincing.

    • Nate says:

      Edward,

      it’s multipurpose flour.

      Thanks!

    • susie tan says:

      hi edward, bread flour is called high protein flour in indonesia.

      high protein flour – bread flour – cakra kembar
      medium protein flour – all purpose flour – segitiga biru
      low protein flour – cake flour, contain more starch – kunci biru

      hope that helps.

  24. heru says:

    does not demonstrate a video?

    by the way,, nice share info,,,

    thank’s

  25. Hi, I’ve tried this recipe 3 times now with not much success. The bun usually comes out of the oven flat and the icing is either so much it overflows or not enough to cover the whole bun. Also, the bun does not taste good after a few hours. What is wrong?

    I used the overnight buns to make a bun and butter pudding and it was great.

    • Nate says:

      EVC,

      If the bun is coming out flat, there might be something wrong with the yeast.

      Not really sure what’s going on with your icing.

      Also, the bun tastes best warm out of the oven. If you want to eat it hours afterward, you’ll have to reheat it.

      I really do commend you for your dedication to getting it right. And using the leftovers in a bread pudding is an excellent idea!

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My Photo Annie is mistress of the kitchen while Nate is the master of the grill and smoker. We cook the homestyle Asian and Hawaiian foods of our younger days while also exploring the wider worlds of Western foods.

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