Iced Finger Buns

Soft and fluffy Iced Finger Buns (or Iced Buns), a classic Australian bakery treat! Easy recipe with step-by-step photos.

finger buns with pink icing on wire rack

Finger Buns

If there is one baked treat from my childhood which evokes nostalgia, it would be Finger Buns (also called Iced Buns or Iced Fingers in the UK). These sweet yeasted buns, filled with sultanas or raisins, and decorated with pink icing and dessicated coconut, were my idea of heaven.

As a child, my parents ran a busy Vietnamese bakery in Australia which sold not only Vietnamese-style baguettes, but also a large selection of baked breads and desserts. So as fate would have it, I had unlimited access to many treats, including my favourite Finger Buns.

finger buns with pink frosting and coconut on wire rack

Finger Bun Recipe

Finger Buns are made from an enriched dough, e.g. a sweetened bread dough, and they are soft and fluffy in texture. They are somewhat similar to French Brioche, but less rich and buttery.

The same Finger Bun recipe can be used to make larger bakery-style tea cakes, shaped as small fruit buns, or even baked in a loaf tin to make fruit bread.

Iced Bun Recipe

Although I like the pop of sweetness that you get from the raisins in the dough, I don’t like my buns to be overly fruity. So my iced bun recipe below is very light on the raisins (I also only use golden raisins), but you can add more to your liking, or even omit them altogether for a plain bun.

Alternatively, you can go all out and use a mix of raisins and dried currants, or even go up-market and use dried sour cherries or dried cranberries. Add as much or as little as you like!

iced finger buns on wire rack

How to Make Finger Buns or Iced Buns

Step 1

Measure the flour, sugar, yeast and salt into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Lightly mix the ingredients together.

dry ingredients for finger buns in white mixing bowl

Step 2

Slowly add the warm milk (you may not need all of it), and lightly beat everything with the dough hook until it comes together into a large ball of dough. Only add as much milk as you need to bring the ingredients together into a dough.

dough for finger buns in white mixing bowl

Step 3

Slowly incorporate the butter, one tablespoon at a time, until all of the butter has been used.

Then increase the speed to medium and continue kneading with the dough hook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

raw dough for finger buns in white mixing bowl

Step 4

Lightly oil a large mixing bowl, and place the dough into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave it somewhere warm for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.

risen dough for finger buns in white bowl

Step 5

Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it back and knead it gently into a smooth ball.

Add the raisins and knead the dough for about 5 minutes to incorporate the raisins.

dough for finger buns with golden raisins

Step 6

Lightly grease two rectangular pans, measuring approximately 17 cm x 27 cm (7 inch x 11 inch).

Weigh the dough, and divide this number by 16, and then portion each piece of dough.

Gently knead each piece of dough and then roll them into a log a bit shorter than the short end of the pan you are using. So if the short end of your pan is 17 cm (7 inches), aim to make your buns about 13 cm (5 inches).

Place 8 buns into each pan.

shaped finger buns in baking tray

Step 7

Cover the pan with a clean tea towel, and place the pan somewhere warm for about 30 minutes, or until the buns have risen and puffed slightly. (They will continue to rise just a bit more in the oven during baking.)

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220°C (428°F).

Once your buns are ready to bake, brush them with some egg wash.

risen finger bun dough in baking pan

Step 8

Bake the buns for about 25 minutes, or until the buns are lightly golden and cooked through. If you have a digital thermometer, the internal reading should be at least 85°C (185°F).

I recommend checking at about 10 minutes, and if the buns have already browned nicely, place a piece of foil over the buns to stop them from browning further while they finish baking.

Place the buns on a wire rack and let them cool completely.

baked finger buns in baking pan

Tips for Making Bread Dough and Enriched Dough

  1. I recommend using bread flour which contains more protein, and which is necessary to create more gluten. It is the gluten which helps to give the bread some elasticity, which will result in a nice, chewy texture.
  2. The best way to test if your bread or buns have cooked through properly is to use a digital thermometer. A thermometer inserted in the centre of the dough should read about 85°C (185°F) for enriched dough like these Finger Buns.

How to Proof Dough

Dough needs a warm environment for the yeast to activate and cause the dough to rise. If you don’t have a warm place in your home, try one of the following ideas:

  • In the oven with the oven light switched on (works only for some ovens).
  • In the oven with a tray of boiling water on the bottom shelf. Use about 1 litre (4 cups) of water, and top up after about 1 hour.
  • In the oven at a low temperature of about 25-30°C (77-86°F).
  • On the open oven door, with the oven turned on at 100°C (212°F).
eight finger buns iced on wire rack

More Australian Recipes

If you are looking for more Australian recipes, you might also like:

Lamingtons

Pavlova with Cream and Passionfruit

Raspberry Friands

Print

Iced Finger Buns

Soft and fluffy Iced Finger Buns (or Iced Buns), a classic Australian bakery treat! Easy recipe with step-by-step photos.

  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 16
  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Australian

Ingredients

For the Finger Buns

  • 600 g (4 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 110 g (1/2 cup) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 14 g (4 teaspoons) instant dried yeast (see Kitchen Notes below)
  • 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) milk, warmed to 37°C (98°F)
  • 60 g (4 tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 40 g (1/4 cup) sultanas or raisins (or more, to taste)

For the Glaze

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk

For the Icing

Instructions

For the Finger Buns

(You will need approx. 3.5 hours to make the Finger Buns, un-iced)

  1. Measure the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
  2. Lightly mix the ingredients together using the dough hook.
  3. Slowly pour in the warm milk, and continue mixing until everything comes together into a rough dough.
  4. Add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Once the butter has been fully incorporated into the dough, add the next tablespoon of butter.
  5. Once all of the butter has been added, continue kneading the dough on medium speed for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. The dough is ready when it is soft and smooth, and also slightly elastic in texture when you try to stretch it. If you poke the dough softly, it should bounce back right away.
  7. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl.
  8. Place the dough inside the bowl.
  9. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel.
  10. Leave the dough somewhere warm for 1 to 1.5 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size (see Kitchen Notes below).
  11. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch back the dough to release all of the air.
  12. Gently knead the dough a few times, and then knead in all of the raisins.
  13. Portion your dough into 16 equal pieces. If you have some kitchen scales, weigh the dough and then divide this number by 16. This will be the weight of each bun dough.
  14. Lightly grease two rectangular pans measuring 17 cm x 27 cm (7 inch x 11 inch) or similar.
  15. Gently knead each ball of dough, and then roll the dough into a small log which is a bit shorter than the short length of the pan you are using. So if your pan is 17 cm (7 inches), aim to make your buns about 13 cm (5 inches) long.
  16. Place 8 pieces of dough into each pan.
  17. Cover the pans with a clean tea towel, and place the pans somewhere warm for about 30 minutes, or until the buns have risen and puffed up slightly.
  18. Preheat the oven to 220°C (428°F).
  19. Make the glaze by lightly whisking together the egg and milk.
  20. Brush the buns with some egg wash.
  21. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the buns are lightly golden. Check the buns at about 10 minutes, and if they are browning too quickly, cover them with a loose sheet of foil for the rest of the baking time. The buns are cooked if an internal thermometer reads 85°C (185°F).
  22. Gently remove the buns (intact) to a wire rack, and leave them to cool completely.

For the Icing

  1. Whisk in just enough milk to the icing sugar (powdered sugar) until you have a thick but spreadable consistency.
  2. If you like, add some pink food colouring. Start by adding just a drop and keep adding more until you have the colour you want.

To Serve

  1. Leave the buns on a wire rack, but place a sheet of baking paper under the wire rack for easy cleaning.
  2. Use a small palette knife to spread the icing all over the (unseparated) buns.
  3. Sprinkle generously with dessicated coconut.
  4. Leave the buns for about 20 minutes to set before serving.

Kitchen Notes

DIFFERENT TYPES OF FLOUR
* This recipe works well with plain flour (all-purpose flour) or strong white bread flour.
* For Swiss readers: I use Zopfmehl (or farine pour tresse) when making bread and enriched dough.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF YEAST
* Please note that there is a difference between instant yeast (also called instant dried yeast or fast-action dried yeast) and dried yeast (also called active dry yeast). If you are not sure what type of yeast you have, please check the packaging for instructions on how to use the yeast.
* With instant yeast, you can add it directly to the flour mixture without having to activate it first.
* With dried yeast, you will need to activate it first (usually in some warm liquid).

PROOFING THE DOUGH
Dough needs a warm environment for the yeast to activate and cause the dough to rise. If you don’t have a warm place in your home, try one of the following ideas:
* In the oven with the oven light switched on (works only for some ovens).
* In the oven with a tray of boiling water on the bottom shelf.
* In the oven at a low temperature of about 25-30°C (77-86°F).
* On the open oven door, with the oven turned on at 100°C (212°F).

OVEN TEMPERATURES
All recipes on this website state temperatures for a regular oven (i.e. a conventional oven without fan). If you have a convection oven with a fan, please consult the manufacturer’s handbook on how to adjust the temperature and baking time accordingly.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

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2 comments

  1. Albertina Geller 27 June 2020

    This recipe is wonderful! I added a bit of extra milk to keep it more soft and moist. Thank you for sharing the recipe

    Reply