Breads Recipes

Rilakkuma custard buns

By on 16.12.12

Do you know Rilakkuma already? I didn’t until a couple of years ago. But this adorable bear is almost like Hello Kitty, just not as known by the mainstream outside of Asia. It is Japans fifth most popular character! I made Rilakkuma shaped breads a week ago for my cousin, but without the custard. This time I had crème pâtissiére from the day before in the fridge so it seemed like a great idea to put it inside the buns! It was super delicious!

Excuse me for the worst pictures ever 🙁 I made these in the afternoon, but as the shortest day of the year is coming it was dark before they were out of the oven! I have asked Santa for a photo lightning set.. So hopefully, the pics will be better again soon!

Rilakkuma without a face, the trick to leave the snout white is to place aluminum foil on top of the bun before baking.

The day before I made these, I made eclairs with a crunchy topping inspired by the book of Adriano Zumbo and had left-over custard creme. This book, Zumbo, is full of gorgeous macarons, cakes and desserts. The recipes are all very challenging and consist of many components. Well, I didn’t have time for that so I made his crème pâtissiére and choux pastry for eclairs and pâte sablé (crunchy top) to top it off. I think I will do a book review soon.

The recipe below takes quite some time to execute, but it is totally worth it! I used half of the bread dough for these custard Rilakkuma buns and the other half for coconut buns. You can also try making sausage buns with this dough.

Rilakkuma custard buns
Crème pâtissiére:
  • 375 g milk
  • ¼ vanilla bean
  • 94 g beaten egg yolks
  • 94 g sugar
  • 38 g cornflour
  • 38 g butter
  • 50 g bread flour
  • 250 ml water or milk
  • 540 g bread flour
  • 86 g caster sugar
  • 8 g salt
  • 9 g milk powder
  • 11 g instant dried yeast
  • 86 g whisked egg
  • 59 g whipping cream
  • 54 g milk
  • 184 g tangzhong (method of making tangzhong)
  • 49 g unsalted butter, melted
Crème pâtissiére:
  1. Heat milk with vanilla seeds over medium heat until almost boiling. Remove from heat.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour until thick and pale. While whisking, slowly add the milk.
  3. Return the mixture to the pan and whisk continuously over medium heat until the custard becomes to a boil. Boil for one minute, transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent from drying.
  4. Once the crème has cooled to 50ºC whisk in the butter with a balloon whisk until smooth.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to cool completely. Before use, whisk again until smooth.
  1. Combine flour and water in a pan and cook on medium heat until the mixture becomes thick. Lines should stay in the mixture when you stir it. Cool to room temperature. Or refrigerate and let come to room temperature before using.
  1. Add all ingredients except the butter into the mixer bowl and turn on low speed. When it begins to form a dough, increase to medium speed until the sides of the bowl become clean. Add the butter and mix until the sides are clean again and the dough does not stick to your finger when touching.
  2. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise above a pan with warm water for about an hour.
  3. Deflate the dough and divide in 20 equal pieces. Set aside under plastic wrap or damp cloth.
  4. To make the bear, take 1 dough ball and cut off ⅕ for the ears and set aside.
  5. Flatten the big part into a circle. Scoop a teaspoon (or more) of the creme onto the dough and close the bun.
  6. Cut the previous cut part in two, roll into small log and press both ends together. This is one ear for Rilakkuma. Make the other ear.
  7. Place the head and ears on a lined baking tray.
  8. Make the rest of the buns and let them sit for 40 min covered with plastic wrap, so it won't dry out. They should become bigger.
  9. Preheat oven to 175ºC/350ºF.
  10. Cut out 20 ellipses out of aluminum foil for rilakkuma's snout and stick it on to it's face.
  11. Paint the buns with egg.
  12. Bake the buns for 15 min on 175ºC/350ºF.
Bread makes 2 loafs or 20 buns. Check out my other recipes if you'd like to make other buns as well. Creme patissiere may be too much (I suggest you make éclairs or profiteroles!)


[Recipe source bread dough]

Recipe creme patissiere: Zumbo by Adriano Zumbo

  • SO cute!! Too cute to take a bite!

  • Melissa Zednanreh

    I’m looking forward to making these for a friend because she loves Rilakkuma! I have a question about the Bread step number 5. When you mentioned to “scoop a teaspoon or more onto the dough and close the bun”, did you mean to scoop a teaspoon of the creme? And does the Tangzhong have to sit for a certain amount of time before using it in the next step? Just wanting to make sure.

    • Gail

      Oops, missed a word there. Yes I meant scoop a teaspoon, or more, of the creme onto the dough circle.
      The tangzhong just needs to be room temperature, so you can make it the night before for instance and refrigerate it. Then an hour or so before using it, take out and let come to room temperature. Or make before using and cool in the fridge until it has cooled to room temp 😉
      Hope this helps you. Have fun making them and post me a picture of them on facebook if you can!

  • Melissa Zednanreh

    Thanks for the advice! The buns came out great, and I posted a picture via facebook on your hungryatmidnight page.

  • Pan

    I have to try these! What did you use to draw on the eyes and the nose?

    • Gail Ho

      I used melted dark chocolate. I made a small piping bag from parchment paper, but you could also use a small plastic bag (like zip-lock) and cut the corner. Have fun while making them 🙂

  • Mary Lynn

    I tried making rilakkuma pull apart bread and failed miserably. Your bread looks so amazing! I’ll have to try it. 🙂

Gail Ho
Mahé, Seychelles

Hello! My name is Gail, I'm a pastry chef currently working in Seychelles. I've studied industrial design engineering and the french art of pâtisserie in Paris. I've been working in Amsterdam, Paris, Biarritz and now in Seychelles.