Basic Bao

  • 425g flour
  • 275 ml milk
  • fresh yeast cube or 1/2 tsp active yeast + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp honey

This is the foundation recipe for steamed buns or bao. A freshly made steamed bun has a lovely yeast-y flavor and great texture that you just can’t get with the frozen variety. Plain buns can easily replace rice or noodles for many meals.

If using a fresh yeast cube, bring ingredients all together in mixer bowl and knead with dough hook for 15 mins gradually increasing speed to med-high. Dough will naturally pull away from sides of bowl as it develops.

If using dry active yeast, proof the yeast with a little water and 1tsp sugar before adding to remaining ingredients to knead. 

Flour, yeast, milk and honey

Flour, yeast, milk and honey

After kneading

After kneading

 

Place in a sunny location in a deep bowl covered with plastic wrap to prevent dough from drying out. Let proof 3-4 hours or until at least doubled in size.

Proofed dough

Proofed dough

Make into round buns by cutting into pieces and rolling into spheres. Place on top of a small square of parchment paper and press down gently to get a half dome shape. This half dome shape is more traditional of Shanghai’s gaoji mantou

Basic bao on right, hua juan variation on left

Basic bao on right, hua juan variation on left

Allow to proof a second time covered on a tray under a tea towel for at least half an hour. 

Preheat your bamboo steamers over boiling water. When steam rises and water is at a rolling boil, add your proofed buns on their parchment squares to the steamers one at a time, making sure they aren’t too crowded. Put lid on steamers and steam 15 mins. Turn off heat. Do not open the lid! Opening the lid immediately after steaming results in deflated buns. Allow steamers to rest with their lid on for 1 minute and then remove your steamed buns.

Finished basic bao on top right corner!

Finished basic bao on top right corner!

More information on how to make hua juan, the twisted flower buns, to come in my next post!

Food, RecipeYang Liubuns, baoComment