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How to Make Steamed Bao Buns (Gua Bao Buns)
Do you enjoy bao buns? They’re wonderful for adding an Asian flair to sandwiches, and because they’re created with such simple ingredients, they’re even better than buying them from the bakery in the first place! Bao buns are a wonderful thing to have on hand at all times. Gua Bao is a dish that I particularly enjoy creating, and that is where these bao buns come in. They are a necessary element in the preparation of gua bao, however a variety of other delights can be placed inside these buns as well.
When it comes to the fillings, you have a lot of freedom.
Steamed bao buns have a light, fluffy texture, which is due to the steaming process.
Bao Buns cooking process
While the components are simple, the method of creating steamed bao buns may be a little difficult, even with the simple ingredients. So, when you check down below, you’ll find I’ve prepared extremely extensive step-by-step directions, along with images and a video, so you’ll feel as if I’m right there with you in your kitchen, preparing delicious bao buns. I’ve also attached some troubleshooting notes for your reference.
Part 1 – prepare the dough1st rise
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
- Then, using an electric mixer (although this step can be completed by hand), knead the dough. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes once it has been covered. Knead the dough for a minute or two. Allow the dough to rest for another 1 hour or more.
Part 2 – divide the dough
- After the dough has doubled in size, it is ready to be used. Make one more gentle kneading motion with the dough
- Cut the dough into pieces that are equal in size. Bringing the dough together into a ball is the next step. Rolling the dough will help it to become a dough ball even more. Keep the dough covered with plastic wrap at all times when working on the remainder of the dough
Part 3 – form the buns, 2nd risecook
- Each dough ball should be rolled out into a long oval shape. Apply oil to it (this will allow the bun to split more readily afterwards)
- To form the bun, fold the oval dough in half. Place it on a piece of parchment paper
- Then fold it in half. Allow the buns to rise one more before baking
- In the case that you’re using a metal steamer, place some towels beneath the lid to prevent the water from leaking onto the buns. Before serving, steam the buns for a few minutes and then set them aside, covered with a lid. You may either serve the buns right now or save them in the freezer for later use.
The keys to making bao buns and troubleshooting
This is a fairly typical problem with steamed buns, and it’s usually caused by a rapid rise and/or drop in pressure when the buns are being steamed. You should do the following to avoid it:
- Slowly bring the bun dough to a boil in the steamer. Do not bring the water to a boil in the steamer and immediately add the steaming rack. Instead, lay the steamer over the pot of water and begin cooking immediately. As a result, the temperature of the steamer rack would steadily rise
- During the steaming process, use a medium or medium-low heat setting. A combination of high heat and fast steam may also cause the buns to burn. After cooking the buns, allow them to cool for at least 10 minutes without lifting the cover. This is critically crucial. As a result, the pressure in the steamer will gradually decrease.
The buns deflate after steaming
Over-proofing is frequently the source of this problem. If the dough has risen too much, it will expand during the cooking process before collapsing. However, the problematic part is that the proofing time can vary significantly depending on your location and the components you choose (e.g. how fresh your yeast is). In order to avoid this problem, we utilize instant yeast instead of active dry yeast in our recipe. You will, however, need to keep an eye on the dough and use your judgment and expertise to determine when the dough has risen sufficiently.
The buns have expanded too much and look weird
Excessive proofreading might also contribute to this problem. The buns will be particularly fluffy after they are finished baking, and this will have no effect on the flavor, but they will not be as attractive. In order to get the solution, you can refer to the text above.
Making flawless bao buns takes a little patience and a lot of experience, but it is possible. However, the end effect is quite satisfying. Once you’ve created them, you’ll discover a plethora of applications for them. Make sandwiches out of them using leftover meat from supper and fresh vegetables, and take them to work for lunch. Add some quick pickled shallots to them for an extra kick of flavor. Believe me when I say that you will discover ways to make bao buns a mainstay in your kitchen. Because making bao buns is a time-consuming procedure, you may (and should!) create more than one batch.
They are freezer and refrigerator safe, so you may have a supply of them on hand at all times for emergencies. After that, it would be simple to indulge in bao buns whenever the mood hits. Look for my Gua Bao recipe to discover one of the most delicious ways to eat your bao buns!
How to use bao buns
Try these recipes for the ingredients you’ll need to make exquisite Asian sandwiches in your own home!
- Chinese BBQ Pork (Char Siu, )
- Chinese Bang Bang Chicken (Bang Bang Chicken, )
- Chinese Pickled Peppers (Quick Pickled Pao Jiao)
- And more dishes. Duck Breast with Moo Shu Vegetables and Homemade Hoisin Sauce
- Crispy Chinese Duck Breast
Are you interested in learning more about Chinese cooking? To receive the 5-Day Chinese Cooking Crash Course and recipe updates, please sign up for my mailing list here. Be the first to know about new recipes from our 5-Day Chinese Cooking Crash Course! Subscribe
How to Make Steamed Bao Buns (Gua Bao Buns)
- Do you enjoy bao buns? They’re wonderful for adding an Asian flair to sandwiches, and because they’re created with such simple ingredients, they’re even better than buying them from the bakery in the first place! Course:Side Cuisine:Chinese Keyword:restaurant-style Preparation time: 30 minutes Preparation time: 20 minutes 1 hour and 30 minutes of resting time Time allotted: 2 hours and 20 minutes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3g (1 teaspoon)instant yeast
- 3g (1 teaspoon)baking powder (double-acting)
- 10g (2 teaspoons)sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 180ml (3/4 cup)full-fat milk, cool or at room temperature
- Vegetable oil for brushing
- 290g (2 cups)all-purpose flour
Form the Dough + 1st rise
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, yeast, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Slowly pour in the milk, stirring constantly using a spoon or spatula to incorporate the flour. Once the liquid has been completely incorporated, switch on the mixer and knead for 5 minutes, or until the dough has formed a hard and gritty ball. Alternative method: Knead the dough with your hands for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes once it has been covered with plastic wrap. After 10 minutes, knead the dough with your hands for another minute or so, until it is smooth and elastic. Wrap the dish with plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rest for approximately 1 hour, or until it has doubled in size. While the dough is rising, cut out 10 squares of parchment paper approximately the size of your hand to use as a steaming tray for the buns while they steam
- Optional: If you’re cooking the gua bao filling and quick pickled shallots on the same day, prepare them at this time
- Otherwise, wait until the next day.
Divide the dough
- As soon as the dough has doubled in size, gently punch the dough with your palm to remove the air bubbles trapped inside. Knead the dough for 1 minute
- Divide it into 2 equal pieces, and then further split each piece into 5 smaller pieces
- Set the dough aside. In order to achieve a more exact result, weigh the dough to ensure that it weighs 48 grams each piece on the scale
- Using one at a time, work on the dough pieces, shaping them into balls by squeezing the loose ends into the base until the dough is tight and spherical. Then, using a hand that is formed like a dome, roll the dough on the table, softly pushing the dough to make a spherical ball. To keep the dough balls from drying out, place them on a big platter and cover them with plastic wrap
Shape the buns2nd rise
- Place the dough balls on a clean work area with the pinched side facing down. Roll each ball into a 1/4′′ (1/2 cm) thick oval that is twice as long as it is broad (about 2.25″ x 4.5″/ 5.5 cm x 11 cm) with a rolling pin. In order to smooth out the dough oval, flip it over and softly roll it again. Brush a small coating of oil on the top of the dough oval (*Footnote 1), fold the oval in half, and set it on a piece of parchment paper that you previously prepared
- Stack the formed buns in a steamer basket, allowing at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space between each bun. Cover and let aside for another 15 to 30 minutes before cooking, or until the dough has increased in size by 1.5 times.
Cook the buns
- As soon as you have finished shaping the first batch of buns, start preparing the steamer by filling the bottom with water. When the buns have risen for the second time, place the covered steamer rack with the raised buns over the steamer and cover the steamer with a lid. In order to prevent water from leaking through the lid of a metal steamer, place two layers of clean kitchen towels between the steamer rack and the container lid. Cook, covered, over medium heat until steam begins to escape from the pot, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the steam stops. Continue to steam for another 10 minutes
- After 10 minutes, turn off the heat but keep the cover on for another 5 minutes to finish steaming. Close the cover tightly for the time being. If the buns are not given enough time to rest, they may deflate. Remove the buns from the oven and place them on a wire rack to cool. The rest of your buns may be cooked in the same steamer as the first batch.
- It is likely that depending on the size of your steamer, you may need to cook the buns in many batches. While you’re heating the first batch of buns, the second or third batches of buns may have been created and rested while you were cooking the first batch. In this scenario, put the buns to a large dish and wrap them tightly in plastic wrap to keep them fresh. Place the buns in the refrigerator to allow the rising to be slowed. Wait until the previous batch of buns has been baked and cooled. Start by removing the buns from the fridge and allowing them to come to room temperature for 2 minutes before beginning to steam them. It is critical not to allow the buns to rise too much throughout the baking process. If the buns are allowed to rest for an excessive amount of time, they will get deflated when steamed.
- Once the buns have been steamed and allowed to cool somewhat, you may use them to create gua bao, serve them with moo shu chicken, or stuff them with any braised meat of your choice. Storage options include storing the steamed buns in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in a firmly sealed ziplock bag in the freezer for up to three months. If you want to reheat the chilled buns, set them on a dish and cover them with a layer of damp paper towels before heating them in the microwave. If you like a softer outcome, you may steam the buns instead of baking them. In order to reheat the frozen buns, place them immediately in a steamer without first thawing them, and steam until they are completely melted. The buns should be thawed before reheating in the microwave
- Else, they will be soggy.
- Using oil will prevent the buns from sticking together and allowing them to be easily separated once they have been steamed
Serving:1serving, Calories:118kcal, Carbohydrates: 24g, Protein: 3.5g, Fat: 0.6g, Saturated Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 1 mg, Sodium: 37 mg, Potassium: 72 mg, Fiber: 0.9g, Sugar: 1g, Calcium: 14 mg, Iron: 1 mg Please let us know if you give this dish a go. Comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and upload a photo to Instagram with the hashtag #omnivorescookbook to show your support! I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.
More homemade dim sum recipes
- Baked BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)
- Chinese Scallion Pancakes ()
- Pineapple Buns (Bolo Bao)
- Wonton Soup
- Chinese Turnip Cake (Lo Bak Go, )
- Chinese Turn
Lilja Walter is a member of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team, and she collaborated with Maggie on the development and testing of this particular dish.
Steamed Bao Buns
Detailed instructions and photographs on how to create the ideal, soft, and fluffy steamed bao buns. To create the ultimate handmade bao buns, follow these tips and methods. They’ll be excellent for stuffing with your favorite fillings. In this section, you will find methods for steaming bao buns on the stovetop and in a steam oven.
It was about 2004 that David Chang introduced his version of Pork Belly Buns to the menu of his restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York, and no one could have imagined that the modest bao buns would go on to become an international gastronomic sensation. Even I made a point of getting a table at Momofuku every time I was in New York, no matter how lengthy the line was. His concept of transforming a normal bao bun into a sandwich or hamburger of sorts, packed with delicious pork belly and a simple garnish of pickled cucumbers, was absolutely brilliant to me.
Homemade Bao Buns
Bao buns were not to be found in Zurich’s stores or restaurants (and this is still the case in 2019! ), so I set out to make my own using a recipe from David Chang’s cookbook, Momofuku, to make steamed bao buns from scratch. After a few years of experimentation (David Chang’s bao bun recipe yields almost 50 buns! ), I settled on the recipe below, which I use on a regular basis throughout the year.
Why This Recipe Works
- Bao buns were not to be found in Zurich’s stores or restaurants (and this is still the case in 2019! ), so I set out to make my own using a recipe from David Chang’s cookbook, Momofuku, to make steamed bao buns instead. After a few years of experimentation (David Chang’s bao bun recipe yields almost 50 buns! ), I settled on the recipe below, which I use on a regular basis all year long.
Buns are traditionally circular in form, with a filling that is either char siu or minced pork mixed with slices of Chinese lap cheong sausage and boiled egg. Char siu pork is the most common filling, although other fillings are also popular. Steamed buns can also be cooked simple, that is, without any filling, to serve as an appetizer. Traditionally, in my family, we prepare simple steamed buns, which are circular in form and tied at the top with a twisted knot, to go with roast duck on Sundays.
Bao Buns Recipe
If you’re lucky, your local Asian supermarket may have pre-made bao buns in the freezer part of their establishment.
It is possible that this simple bao bun recipe will need some planning and preparation, but you will be rewarded with delectably fluffy handmade buns that will thrill everyone who tries them.
How to Make Bao Buns
Bao buns are made with both yeast and baking powder, which helps the buns rise to their full potential. Begin by combining all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing basin and mixing well. Then, using a measuring jug, pour the heated water and oil into the pan. The water should be somewhat warmer than lukewarm in order to aid in the activation of the yeast, but it should not be boiling hot.
The dough for my bao buns is made in my electric stand-mixer; however, you may certainly create everything by hand if you so choose. Using a dough hook on a medium speed, incorporate the liquid components into the dry ones. If you are using a different type of flour than that specified in the recipe, you may require more or less liquid than that specified. You just need a small amount of liquid to bring everything together into a soft dough. Next, with the mixer still running on medium speed, knead the dough until it is soft and smooth to the touch.
After the dough has become soft and smooth, I recommend kneading it by hand for a few more minutes on the kitchen counter top to finish it off. In order to determine whether the dough is ready, push your finger into the dough and produce an imprint in the dough. If the dough bounces back, it indicates that it is ready. If the imprint is still visible, you will need to knead the dough a little longer. Place the ball of dough back into the (clean) mixing basin and set the bowl somewhere warm for around 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough has doubled in size, to rise and expand.
As soon as the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead it by hand for around 5 minutes to remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the dough. Afterwards, roll out the dough until it is approximately one centimeter in height. Rub a little amount of oil onto the surface of the dough with your hands. Using this method, you will be able to avoid the dough from sticking together later on while shaping the buns.
To cut out rounds from the dough, use an 8 cm (3 inch) diameter cookie cutter. Continue to re-roll the dough as needed until you have used up all of the dough in the recipe.
Place the rounds on a small sheet of baking paper – I prefer to use simple white cupcake wrappers that I flatten with a rolling pin to make them easier to handle. This saves me the time and effort of having to cut a sheet of baking paper into little pieces before using it. Then, using a rolling pin, carefully flatten the dough to make the bun shape. Repeat with the remaining rounds.
Set everything on a big baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and set it aside somewhere warm for approximately 30 minutes to let the buns to rise again and become more puffed. It should have taken around 10 minutes for the bao buns to rise somewhat and puff out a little.
In the meantime, heat the steamer on the stovetop (see notes below).
The buns should be steamed in batches for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are fluffy and soft, and the insides are cooked through.
How to Proof Dough
The yeast in the dough must be activated in a warm atmosphere in order for the dough to rise properly. You might try one of the following suggestions if you don’t have a warm spot in your house:
- In the oven with the oven light turned on (this is only applicable to certain ovens)
- On the lowest shelf of the oven, there is a baking plate filled with boiling water. Use around 1 litre (4 cups) of water, then top it up after approximately 1 hour of cooking
- Cook at a low temperature of around 25-40°C (77-104°F) in the oven or a steamer oven
How to Steam Bao Buns
- Using a bamboo steamer to steam bao buns is a terrific way to save money, and Asian grocery shops usually have a big selection of sizes available at reasonable costs. Aside from the low cost, another advantage of bamboo steamers is that they are attractive when used to serve food at the table. I recommend that you get the largest steamer that will fit your saucepan and stovetop. In order for it to work properly, the bamboo steamer must be the same size as the saucepan you are using below it. To illustrate this point further, if you are using a bamboo steamer with a diameter of 12 inches, your saucepan should likewise be 12 inches in diameter
- If you plan to make bao buns (or even dumplings) on a regular basis, I recommend purchasing at least two steamer baskets that can be stacked on top of each other to reduce cooking (and waiting) time
- If you plan to make dumplings, I recommend purchasing at least two steamer baskets that can be stacked on top of each other. For those who are serious about creating bao buns, I recommend investing in a multi-tiered metal or stainless steel steamer, which can be found at most Asian grocery shops or online. These are also available in a variety of sizes and have the added benefit of being dishwasher-safe
- Fill the saucepan about one-third of the way with boiling water, and then lay the steamer baskets on top of that. Place the pot with the steamer baskets on the stove over a low-medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. There is a chance that the bao buns will overcook or even turn soggy if you steam them at a high enough temperature
- However, if you steam them at a lower temperature, the buns will be OK. Place the bao buns in each steamer basket, leaving enough space between them for them to rise and expand during cooking. Cover and steam for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, or until the buns have risen and are light and fluffy when opened.
Tips For Making Bao Buns
- Plain flour (all-purpose flour) is fine for this recipe, since the cornflour (cornstarch) will aid in giving the buns a light and fluffy texture due to the use of cornstarch. It is not necessary for the buns to be a blinding white as those available in Chinese restaurants
- Nonetheless, the taste and texture should remain the same. To get the pure white appearance of buns found in Chinese restaurants, I recommend using bleached flour, which can be obtained at Asian grocery shops or online. In order for the dough to rise properly, it must be kneaded for the necessary period of time. It is possible that failing to knead the dough adequately can result in buns that are blotchy in appearance (but still taste delicious), and this is due to not mixing the ingredients together well enough and/or failing to remove all of of the air bubbles from the dough. To prevent the buns from becoming soggy, steam them on a low-medium heat until they are just cooked through.
How to Make Steamed Bao Buns with a Steam Oven
The following methods should be followed for proving the dough as well as steaming the bao buns in an electric steam oven or a combi-steam oven:
- First Proof: Place the dough in a large basin that has been gently greased and let aside for 30 minutes. Use some cling film or a disposable bowl cover to keep the contents of the bowl safe. For approximately 1.5 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size, proof the dough in the steam oven/combi-steam oven at 40°C / 104°F
- First, form the bao buns and set them on a tiny piece of baking paper each, then transfer them to a big tray that will fit inside your steam oven/combi-steam oven. Second, proof the bao buns. I can put a big sheet pan into my steam oven, which will adequately accommodate 12 bao buns. There is no need to wrap the buns with plastic wrap. Proof the bao buns in their formed forms at 40°C / 104°F for around 30 minutes, or until the buns have swelled up significantly
- Steaming the Bao Buns: Remove the tray of bao buns from the steam oven/combi-steam oven and place it on a baking sheet. Raise the temperature to 100°C / 212°F if necessary. As soon as the steam oven/combi-steam oven has reached the desired temperature, return the tray of bao buns to the oven and steam them for 10-12 minutes.
Freezing Bao Buns
Bao buns are ideally consumed fresh, and as soon as they are steamed, if at all possible. Bao buns can be preserved in zip-lock bags in the freezer for up to two months if they are not used immediately. To reheat frozen bao buns, just steam them for about 5 minutes, or until they are thoroughly warmed through.
What to Serve with Bao Buns
One of my favorite ways to serve bao buns is to stuff them with char siu pork and pickled veggies that I make in a flash. For further information, please refer to my recipe for Sticky Pork Bao Buns. Other excellent toppings for bao buns include the following: Braised Short Ribs with Asian Flavors Pickled Chillies, Chinese Barbecue Pork (Char Siu Pork), and other condiments Print
Steamed Bao Buns
- The resting time is 2 hours, the preparation time is 1 hour, the cooking time is 10 minutes, and the total time is 1 hour 10 minutes. This recipe makes 12-16 buns. Recipe Type:Bread
- Cooking Method:Stovetop
Instructions on how to create the ideal, soft and fluffy steamed bao buns, complete with images. To create the ultimate handmade bao buns, follow these tips and methods. They’ll be excellent for stuffing with your favorite fillings. There are directions for steaming the bao buns on the stovetop and in a steam oven included in the recipe.
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour (all-purpose flour) or unbleached flour
- 125 g (1 cup) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 5 tablespoonscaster sugar (super-fine sugar)
- 1 teaspooninstant yeast (also known as instant dried yeast or fast-action dried yeast) (see Kitchen Notes)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 180 ml (3/4 cup) warm water
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) vegetable oil, plus extra
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour (
In order to prepare the buns
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand-mixer (if using), combine all of the dry ingredients
- Mix well. Using a measuring jug, pour the heated water and oil into the pan. The water should be somewhat warmer than lukewarm in order to aid in the activation of the yeast, but it should not be boiling hot. Mixing the liquid components into the dry ingredients using the dough hook at a medium speed is recommended. If you are using a different sort of flour than what is specified in the recipe, you may require more or less liquid than is specified in it. Continue kneading the dough on medium speed until the dough becomes soft and silky to the touch until you’ve achieved a sticky dough consistency. This should take around 10 minutes with a stand mixer on medium speed, or approximately 5 minutes if done manually. After the dough has become soft and smooth, I recommend kneading it by hand for a few more minutes on the kitchen counter top until it is elastic. Replacing the ball of dough in the (now-empty) mixing bowl
- Use some cling film or a disposable bowl cover to keep the bowl covered. Placing the bowl in a warm location for 60 to 90 minutes will allow the dough to rise and double in size.
In order to form the buns
- To remove any air bubbles that may have formed in the dough, punch it back and knead it by hand for around 5 minutes after it has doubled its size. Then, using a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is approximately 1 cm in height. Rub a little oil into the surface of the dough with your hands
- To cut out rounds from the dough, use an 8 cm (3 inch) cookie cutter. Re-roll the dough as many times as necessary. Place these circles on a small piece of baking paper – I prefer to use simple white cupcake wrappers that I flatten with a rolling pin – and set them aside to dry. Fold each circle in half and then gently flatten the dough with a rolling pin to make the bun shape
- Set everything on a big baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and set it aside somewhere warm for approximately 30 minutes to let the buns to rise again and become more puffed. After this period of time, the bao buns should have inflated up a little.
In order to steam the buns
- In the meantime, prepare the steamer on the stove (see the Kitchen Notes section below). Puff and soften the buns by steaming them in batches for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are completely cooked through
- Serve the buns as soon as possible.
The many types of yeast* Please keep in mind that there is a difference between instant yeast (also known as quick dried yeast or fast-action dried yeast) anddried yeast while baking (also calledactive dry yeast). When in doubt about the sort of yeast you have, look for instructions on how to utilize it on the package. If you use instant yeast, you may add it right to the flour mixture without having to wait for it to activate first. If you don’t have instant yeast, I would recommend using the same quantity of dried yeast as you would with instant yeast.
- Combine the dry ingredients in the recipe above with the yeast mixture and vegetable oil, and mix well.
- Although the buns will be a pale yellow in color, they will taste delicious.
- INSTRUCTIONS FOR STEAMING BAO BUNS* Place the steamer basket (whether bamboo or other material) directly on top of a saucepan that has the same size and shape.
- ***Place the steamer basket on top of the saucepan.
- Place the lid on top of the steamer basket and close the lid tightly.
- How to Make Bao Buns in a Steam Oven*First Proof: Cover the bowl with cling film or a re-usable bowl cover to prevent the buns from drying out.
- There is no need to wrap the buns with plastic wrap.
- * Preparing the Bao Buns by steaming them: Take the tray of bao buns out of the steam oven/combi-steam oven and set it aside.
- As soon as the steam oven/combi-steam oven has reached the desired temperature, return the tray of bao buns to the oven and steam them for 10-12 minutes.
To reheat frozen steamed buns, place them in a stovetop steamer for approximately 5 minutes, or until they are completely warmed through. CONVERSIONSIf you need to convert from cups to grams, or vice versa, you may use this handyConversion Chart for Fundamental Ingredients.
This recipe was initially published on May 17, 2019 and has since been updated. More detailed recipe notes have been added to the original version.
Steamed Bao Buns Recipe (Fluffy Chinese Bao)
Steamed bao buns, which are soft and fluffy pillows of milky and slightly sweet dough, are one of the most delicious ways to serve sensitive meat and fresh veggies. Unlike many other steamed bao, these classic Chinese lotus leaf buns are distinguished by their flat and folded form, which makes them ideal for snacking. You will learn how to prepare handmade lotus leaf buns that are served hot from the steamer by following this recipe.
What is bao?
These steamed bao are frequently referred to incorrectly as “bao buns,” which is a mistranslation of the Chinese phrase “bun bun.” Bao are steamed in the same way as other Chinese bao, but they are formed in a flat, folded shape with an opening in the centre, making them ideal for holding a wide range of fillings. Because of its form, this particular variety of bao is referred to as lotus leaf buns. This steamed bao is said to have originated in Fuzhou, China, which is the capital of the Fujian province.
In today’s world, it is loaded with a variety of foods such as fried chicken, kimchi, and more.
Majordomo in Los Angeles is home to one of the most well-known bao that you may have heard of, and I’ve had the pleasure of eating it there several times over the years.
Bao bun ingredients
char siu bao, mantou, and evensiopao asado are all produced using components that are extremely similar to those used to make other Asian buns and bao dough, such as char siu bao. Essentially, it’s a white-based dough created from flour, starch, milk or water, vegetable oil, sugar, and leaveners, all of which are identical in appearance. I prefer to use both yeast and baking powder to ensure that the dough proves and rises sufficiently to provide a light and fluffy texture while baking. In addition to utilizing all-purpose wheat flour in my bao recipes, I prefer to incorporate wheat starch into the dough.
If you don’t have access to wheat starch, you may use cornstarch for the same results.
Where to buy bao buns
In the event that you don’t have time to cook bao at home, you may also purchase frozen bao buns from your local Asian grocery store or supermarket. 99 Ranch has a range of frozen and fresh bao that can be heated or steamed at home; they are a terrific alternative since the bao remain flavorful and fluffy even after being steamed for a long period of time.
Peking duck to-go orders at Chinese restaurants are often accompanied by lotus leaf buns, Peking duck sauce, and scallions, which are all complimentary.
How to make and steam bao buns
You may create lotus leaf buns in a stand mixer by using the same procedure as you would for making mantou dough. Using a stand mixer for these recipes is my favorite method since it eliminates the need to knead with your hands nearly completely. It is possible to begin dividing the dough into 16 equal pieces after 5 minutes of resting the dough in the bowl. After that, you’ll roll out each piece into a ball, then with a rolling pin, flatten each piece into an oval, brush on some vegetable oil to keep it from sticking, and then fold it in half to finish.
Why using a scale is better than a cookie cutter
Increased consistency. Some people like to roll out the entire ball of dough and then cut it into pieces using a cookie cutter, but I prefer to weigh each dough ball to ensure accuracy in the results. Using a scale helps to guarantee that all of the buns are the same size and that they all appear the same after steaming. It saves time and avoids the dough from being overworked. I didn’t enjoy having to deal with superfluous scraps that had to be rolled out again and over and over again. The result is that you have to wait longer for the dough scraps to rest before rolling them out and cutting them again, or you run the risk of overworking your dough as a result.
Although some people advocate rolling it out again after folding to obtain a nicer form, this did not work for me because the two sides ended up sticking together after the second fold.
I prefer to roll out each piece independently since it allows me to get a better semi-oval shape once it has been folded and I don’t have to worry about the edges sticking together when it is folded.
This recipe only requires one proofing step, which takes place while the buns are steaming in a steamer over hot water. Once it’s time to steam the buns, each batch should only take around 20 minutes on medium-low heat, with an extra 4 minutes off the heat to allow the buns to adapt to the resting temperature before serving. If you open the lid too rapidly, your buns may become deflated as a result.
Filling options and storage
Most of all, I enjoy bao because you can eat it and fill it with a variety of meats, veggies, and greens. These lotus leaf buns are one of my favorites since they are so versatile. Char siu, roasted duck, barbecue chicken, shredded scallions, and greens are some of my favorite fillings. In case you have any leftover steamed bao, you may steam them and store them in an airtight ziplock bag in the freezer. It’s best for me to microwave a bao for 30 second intervals till it’s hot and steaming, then remove the bao from the microwave to cool.
- 235g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 50g (1/4 cup) wheat starch or cornstarch
- 5g (1 teaspoon) baking powder
- 7g (14 teaspoons) instant activated yeast
- 50g (1/4 cup) white granulated sugar
- 150g (5 ounces) whole milk
- 24g (1 ounce) vegetable oil plus more for brushing
- 235g (2 cups) all-purpose flour
- 5g (1 teaspoon) baking
- In a mixing bowl fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the all-purpose flour, wheat starch, baking powder, yeast, and sugar until well combined. Reduce the speed to the lowest setting and continue swirling until the entire mixture is uniformly dispersed. Increase the mixer speed to level 2 by a small amount. Combine the milk and oil in a small mixing basin until well combined. Slowly pour the liquid into the mixer until it is fully incorporated. Increase the speed to the fifth setting. Continue to knead the dough on medium (about level 5) for another 5 minutes until it has formed a ball and begun to loosen from the edges of the mixing bowl. If necessary, scrape the edges of the dish to remove any stuck-on food. It is finished when the ball of dough seems smooth and free of lumps, and it entirely detaches from the edges of the mixing bowl. See picture for finished texture
- Remove the dough from the mixer and shape it into a ball with your hands. Repeat with the remaining dough. Hover your hands over the ball while forming a heart with your thumbs and fingers, then use the ball to make circular movements to create a tight, smooth surface on a clean surface. Make a dough ball, place it in a bowl, cover it with a lid, and let it aside for 5 minutes to give the dough a break from kneading–you don’t want to overwork the dough. If you poke the ball of dough with your finger and it does not spring back, you can begin to roll it into balls
- Otherwise, continue to the next step. Transfer the dough ball to a clean surface and knead it a few times with the heel of your palm to release any extra gas from the dough.
- To get the ultimate weight of your dough ball, weigh the entire dough ball. If you follow the recipe exactly as written, without modifying it in any way, the result should be roughly 515 grams. Using a knife, divide the dough into smaller balls, weighing each one to be 32 grams in weight. If you didn’t scale the recipe, we’ll have a total of 16 bao from this batch. Repeat the process until all of the smaller dough balls have been divided. Keep the unused balls of dough covered with a cloth to prevent them from drying out if possible. Take one of the pieces and roll it around in your hands until it forms a ball
- Roll it out into a 2 12 x 4 inch oval shape using a rolling pin. Fold it in half after lightly brushing it with the vegetable oil on top. It’s time to finish off your bao. Place it on top of a steamer that has been lined with parchment paper. Make sure each bao is at least 1 12 inches apart from the others since they will expand when cooked. Continue until you have finished making all of the bao. Remember to store the leftover proofed bao in your refrigerator if you are unable to fit them all into your steamer at once. This will prevent the bao from proofing any further. The process of proofreading should be slowed by chilling them. Remove them from the refrigerator approximately 5 minutes before the proofing and steaming procedure to allow them to come to room temperature before proceeding. Make a test of the bao. A sauce saucepan with hot, but not boiling, water should be placed on top of the steamer to catch the steam. Place the bao in the steamer and turn on the heat. Allow 30 minutes of resting time after covering with a lid.
- After the dough has been proofed, uncover it and examine the size
- It should be at least 1 12 times the original size. Replace the cover and put the heat up to high on the stovetop once again. As soon as the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and continue to steam for 20 minutes longer. Maintain a high enough temperature to create steam during the cooking process, and replenish the water if it becomes depleted. Using tongs, take the pot from the heat and set it aside for 4 minutes before lifting the cover. This will prevent the bao from deflating as a result of a temperature change. Remove the lid and serve the bao with your choice fillings as soon as possible.
The following are the nutritional values: calories: 87.98kcal|carbohydrates: 15.55g|protein: 1.99g|fat: 1.98g|saturated fat: 1.42g|cholesterol: 0.94mg|sodium: 37.7mg|potassium: 32.39mg|fiber 0.51g|sugar: 3.63g|vitamin A: 15.19IU|vitamin C:0.01mg|calcium: 31.32m Courses include appetizers, dinners, lunches, side dishes, and sides.
Asian and Chinese cuisines are available. Baozi (Chinese dumplings), Peking duck
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With Kawan Food’s steamed sandwich bao buns, you can transform your kitchen into your own personal Masterchef. You may make your own steamed buns using chicken, soft shell crab, and even Peking Duck, or you can recreate David Chang’s Momofuku steamed buns recipe. With our bao buns, you can create delicious burgers with a variety of fillings, including chicken, fish, beef, and vegetarian alternatives. Because of their portable size and fold-over style, they are a fantastic option for packed lunches and party food alike!
Its semicircular form and horizontal fold make it the ideal bite-sized bao burger bun, which can be filled with a variety of different contents.
Currently, many Western cuisines employ it to create their own kinds of fusion sandwiches, like as those including soft shell crab.
Kawan Food Frozen Bao Buns Malaysia
Our steamed bao buns are Halal certified, free of added preservatives, and free of trans-fats, much like the rest of our goods. They’re a delicious and nutritious alternative for cooking at home or even in restaurants. If you’re looking for something even more nutritious, we also have whole wheat steamed buns. Additionally, these sandwich buns are simple to reheat. After only a few minutes in the steamer, they’ll be soft and fluffy, and ready to be put together. Online shoppers may order steamed sandwich buns and have them delivered right to their doorway.
Reheated bao buns have the same texture and flavor as freshly baked bao buns.
Eater’s Restaurant Critics Review NYC’s Best Frozen Dumplings and Bao
If you make a purchase after clicking on an Eater link, Vox Media may receive a commission. See our code of ethics for more information. The chances are considerable that the dumplings and bao consumed in any given restaurant have been frozen at some time during their existence, unless one is dining in a dim sum parlor. This does not usually have a negative impact on the food depending on how long it has been stored in the freezer and how properly it has been packed in the first place. Few frozen pizzas are really outstanding — even the most expensive ones can’t compete with freshly baked brick oven pies — yet a large number of supermarket dumplings are of a quality that rivals that of superb restaurant versions.
As a result, East Asian dumplings and buns that critics Robert Sietsema and Ryan Sutton discovered in their local freezer cases, such as Japanese gyoza, Korean mandoo, Cantonese char siu bao, and Shanghainese xiaolongbao, were given ratings.
Many of the specimens were tested in a bamboo steamer, which imparts a relaxing woodsy fragrance to one’s home while simultaneously cooking it.
Gourmet Familyjumbo pork gyoza dumplings($6.89 for a pound of dumplings): Designed and manufactured in the United States, these largish elongated dumplings with a wobbling ridge on the top have a wrapper that is a good compromise between thick and thin and stand up well to the combined frying and steaming process.
- And as you sizzle them, they release a delightful aroma that fills the entire kitchen with deliciousness.
- Steamed roasted pork buns from Prime Foods ($7.99 for 30 ounces): People who miss the delicious char siu bao available at the city’s numerous Chinese bakeries will appreciate the genuinely good home-cooked substitute offered by Brooklyn-based Prime Food.
- When the bao is split apart, steam rises from the inside, giving a delicious, porky scent.
- For your daily quarantine breakfast, along with a cup of tea.
- Three Meals Per Day It takes only five minutes to cook these little spherical Chinese dumplings with a spike at the top, which is produced by the ACC Foods facility in Thorofare, New Jersey.
- The Sietsema Dongwon spicy octopus dumplings (26.8 ounces, $8.99) are a Grade A dish.
- The red mash of cephalopods emits a terrifying red light from within the translucent wrapping that surrounds it.
- This spicy frozen cuisine, produced by Dongwong, a South Korean firm, is the spicier frozen meal I’ve ever encountered.
gigantic pork gyoza dumplings for the whole family Prime Food tiny soupy bun with pork and crab roe (20 ounces, $5.99): Photo by Robert Sietsema/EaterPrime Food Even though these dumplings aren’t as deeply juicy and soupy as many xiaolongbao — one may eat them with a fork rather than a spoon — the purity of their taste is breathtaking.
Meanwhile, the pork is lightly packed and mild in flavor, serving as a neutral conduit for the majesty of the marine flavors.
Chinese-style spicy pork dumplings in the manner of Wei-Chuan (about 20 ounces, $5.99): It is the work of Wei Chuan, which has its headquarters in Los Angeles County and is one of the country’s major Chinese food producers, that the cuisine is so good here; these fabulously scented dumplings would easily cost three times the price in a sit-down restaurant.
- The wrapper is firm and nearly al dente, and the chile oil gives more scent than spice, infusing the juicy pork with a sweet and subtly bitter perfume.
- Sutton receives an A.
- It’s either go big or go home when it comes to Korean mandoo dumplings.
- The mild flavor is superb, and it tastes just like the appetizer dumplings served at Korean BBQ restaurants, only with a faint black pepper afterburn.
- Sietsema receives an A+.
- The delicate, gossamer wrappers do everything they can to allow the filling’s maritime taste to show through.
- 3 Courses of Food The following are the ingredients in a Daysoupy pork buns with crab roe (6.3 ounces, $4.99): It appears that these xiaolongbo are slightly smaller in circumference than the Prime Food kind and contain less soup for slurping than the Prime Food variety.
Crab flavor might be mild and almost invisible or powerfully sweet and heady.
Sutton received an A-.
Anyone who has dined in a Japanese restaurant will be familiar with the flavor of these little, uniquely formed steamed dumplings with a frill around the top, which are served hot.
They also have a surimi flavor to them, which makes them creamy and fishy.
Dumplings with pork and cilantro (21 ounces, $8.99): Sietsema Wei-Chuan (grade: B-): The elongated and undulant dumplings are filled with a mixture of finely ground pork and cilantro, which has been chopped.
This results in a really plump dumpling with a diaphanous wrapper, which is fantastic, but the inside is rendered somewhat bland, which is surprising given the amount of cilantro used in the recipe.
Eater courtesy of Robert Sietsema Pork ippon leek gyoza from SineiMatsumoto (8.47 ounces, $5.29): These dumplings, which are made in Japan by Sinei Foods, can be purchased at a variety of Japanese grocery stores around the city, including the Dainobu chain, which has three locations in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn, among others.
- The wrappers, on the other hand, are almost ideal, thin and crispy on the bottom after being fried and steamed at the same time in a covered pot.
- 3) Timespan pan-fried pork dumplings (for a total of 20 dumplings, $15): I decided to look for frozen dumplings produced by restaurants to evaluate how they stacked up against store dumplings.
- The 3 Times branch at Union Square — which has enlarged its dumpling assortment since my last visit — is now open and serves one type of frozen dumpling packed with pork for customers who come by on a whim, as well as other types of dumplings by appointment or by chance.
- Sietsema received a B grade.
- Eater courtesy of Robert Sietsema After steaming, these slender ridged dumplings made in Korea glow pink through their translucent wrappers, and they’re a lovely sight to behold.
- The fermented cabbage within, while providing a small crunch, lacks any flavor whatsoever, with no sourness, saltiness, or burn to distinguish it from the rest of the dish.
They dumplings may not be spectacular, but if you’re looking for a simple dumpling to drop into soup, these may be sufficient. The dumplings can also be cooked in the same way as pot stickers are. Sietsema received a grade of C.
On cooking and saucing
It is possible to prepare dumplings in a variety of different ways. Boiling dumplings is good, and it is also more convenient. Bao and soup dumplings, for example, are often steamed. You should be aware that steam can burn rapidly and terribly if you are new to the practice of steaming dumplings. Make sure to keep your hands and arms safe when removing the steamer’s cover from the appliance. Make careful to line the pot as well: While parchment steamer liners are one possibility, other alternatives include Napa cabbage or a wet paper towel saturated with cooking oil.
The majority of dumplings cook in six to eight minutes, while some bao, such as bigger char siu baos, may take longer.
Mix soy sauce with vinegar and sugar and add grated ginger and sesame oil to taste for a sauce that’s both flavorful and easy to make.
Consider Laoganma, your beloved Sriracha, or any of the myriad of upstarts on the market when it comes to chili sauces.
Check out other installments of the Supermarket Series:
- Eater’s Restaurant Critics Review NYC’s Best (and Worst) Frozen Grocery Foods
- Eater’s Restaurant Critics Review NYC’s Best (and Worst) Frozen Pizzas
- Eater’s Restaurant Critics Review NYC’s Best (and Worst) Grocery Store Mexican Food
- Eater’s Restaurant Critics Review NYC’s Best (