Warm 1/4 C milk (50 g) of milk to 100°F (warm to touch) and mix with 1 tsp of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and set it aside to bloom for 5 to 10 minutes. If the yeast mixture does not turn bubbly discard it and try with a new batch of yeast.
In a large mixing bowl take all the remaining ingredients for the bread dough, except the milk, and stir to combine. Make a well in the mixture and add the activated yeast as well as half the remaining milk. Start kneading while adding the remaining milk slowly as required. If the dough is too dry add a few more drops of milk and knead to make it more pliable. Knead for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Form the dough into a smooth ball and transfer it to an oiled bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap or a moist kitchen towel and set aside to double in size in a warm place.
Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rise in a warm place till doubled (about 1 to 1.5 hrs).
Mix the ingredients for the filling and set them aside (see notes).
Punch down the dough and divide it into 4 equal pieces. (For buns see notes). Keep the dough covered. Roll a piece of dough into a disc of about 8" in diameter. Transfer the disc onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Spread half the filling on the disk leaving about 1/2 " to ¾ “from the sides uncovered. Dip a pastry brush in water and brush uncovered portion. Roll out another piece of dough into a disc slightly bigger than the first one. Place over the first disc, gently pressing on the outer sides to seal. Cover with a plastic wrap or moist kitchen towel. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough. Set aside to proof until almost doubled.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Optional - Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp water well to make the egg wash. Brush the tops of the bread with egg wash.
Transfer to the oven. Reduce temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are light brown. Remove from the oven.
Cool in the tray for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack.
Serve warm or cooled, if slicing wait for the bread to cool completely.
If avoiding eggs use 2 Tbsp honey mixed with 1 Tbsp hot water instead of egg wash.
For buns - divide the dough into double the number of buns to make. Divide the filling equally into the number of buns and proceed as in the recipe.
If you are using desiccated coconut for the filling , add about 3 Tbsp hot water and 1 tbsp butter/coconut cream to the filling mixture and mix well .