We LOVE steamed Barbecue Buns in this house and we buy them anytime we see them. If we go out for Dim Sum barbecue buns, or bao, are a MUST HAVE! Sometimes I buy frozen bao from my favorite Asian market or from Trader Joe’s, they make a convenient snack that my son likes to heat in the microwave when he gets home from school. This is my first attempt making the buns from scratch but I have high hopes. My daughter is home early from school today so she’ll help me fill the bao (I made the dough early so it would be ready when she got home) she’s also my
camera man UMM camera woman…camera chick?? yeah, we’ll go with camera chick. A while ago she requested that we make bao from scratch so here we are.
To make the steamed buns you will need a steamer (bamboo or stainless steal) a pot to fit the steamer and parchment paper to keep the buns from sticking.
For the steamed bun dough I used all purpose flour and two kinds of leaveners, yeast and baking soda. A little oil in the dough gives it a more tender texture. I’ve found that some store bought buns have a very sweet dough, some recipes I’ve seen call for 1/2 cup of sugar. I feel that the barbecue filling is quite sweet and a too sweet dough is overkill. I add just a bit of sugar in the dough, it helps with the tender texture as well.
- 1 cup warm water (about 105-110 degrees) The water should just be warm to the touch, not hot
- 2 teaspoons yeast
- 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
- 3 to 3½ cups all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- Add the yeast and sugar to the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes
- Put the sifted all purpose flour into the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large bowl
- Mix salt and baking powder into 3 cups of flour
- Add the water/yeast mixture and oil to the flour
- In your stand mixer with the dough hook, mix on low for 1 minute increase the speed to medium and knead for 3-4 minutes
- If needed add additional flour a tablespoon at a time to make a smooth firm dough. The dough should not be sticky and wet.
- If you are making this by hand, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and knead on the counter for 10 minutes until the dough is smooth
- Let the dough rise in an oiled bowl for 1 hour
- Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces.
- Keep dough covered in plastic when not using.
- Flatten each piece into 3 inch disks, fill and let rise again (covered with plastic) for 15 minutes
When forming the buns flatten the divided dough portion into a 3 inch diameter circle, I just used the heel of my palm but you can use a rolling pin. Make the edges a bit thinner than the center of the dough so the dough won’t be too thick when you gather it on top of the bun. The dough disk should be about a millimeter thick in the center and half as thick on the edges. Add a tablespoon or so of filling, pinch it closed and let it rise a bit before steaming. Once you get the hang of it, the process will move more quickly.
After you fill the buns place them on a square of parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the steamer. Let the buns rise for 15 minutes, meanwhile bring water to boil in the pot for your steamer. Place the buns in the steamer and steam for 15 minutes or until they are hot all the way through.
Leftover buns reheat well in the microwave, cover with a damp paper towel and cook on high for 45 seconds (more or less depending on your microwave)
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