500 g pau flour
6 g yeast
100 g sugar
50 g oil/shortening
250 g water
- Mix flour and instant yeast together and dissolve the sugar in water.
- Mix all the ingredients in a mixing bowl, then knead the dough by hand for 10-15 minutes or by mixer until it becomes smooth and extensible.
- Scale the dough at 40g each. Round it and leave it to rest for 10 minutes.
- Flatten the dough and place your filling in the centre of the dough. Wrap the filling by folding the edge of the dough with desired design. Then place each dough on a small piece of square grease-proof paper.
- Cover the dough with a piece of clean plastic sheet and allow it to rise for 35-40 minutes.
- Place all the dough pieces in a steaming rack and steam for 15 minutes over the high heat.
- Modifications: I also add a pinch of salt to give the baos a little complexity to the taste. Also, be sure to use lukewarm water to dissolve the sugar, before adding the mixture into your flour and yeast. Once you get a rough dough, proceed to add in your oil. You can also use lard or shortening if you prefer. I use sunflower oil since it’s available in my pantry all the time.
- Taste: This bao can actually be made into a mantou and be eaten on its own, because there is sufficient sugar to give it some taste. However, it tastes especially good when combined with a savory filling.
- Texture: The texture of the bao is perhaps not as smooth as those you can get from yum char places, but it’s perfectly fine for consumption at home. Perhaps a little bit of wheat gluten and more shortening will result in that smoother bao you can get from shops.
- Serving size: This recipe makes enough for 14 similar shaped buns.
- Storage: These baos store in the fridge well for about 3 days and freeze perfectly. From the fridge, just steam them again for about 10-15 minutes. From the freezer, remove them to thaw before steaming them or you could just steam them for 30 minutes.
- Would I make this again?: Definitely. This is a family staple, and this is perhaps the only way in which I can consume my beloved peanut baos (it’s so rare nowadays) and the only way in which I can have a vegetable bao with some chicken inside ;p
- Other comments: For the “grease-proof” paper that the recipe mentions, you can use baking paper or tracing paper, cut into little squares.
|These baos are proofed (see how the pleats are not as prominent as before) and ready to be steamed :]|
|Look at this dreamy char siew filling! Unlike those in stores, this is all meat and little fats – no red coloring is used :]|
|Steamed baos – look at how fat they have become – the pleats are almost giving way :/|
|Another close-up for good measure :]|
|My absolute favorite – the peanut bao|
|And last but not least, my mom’s version of vegetable bao – with half a hardboiled egg and pieces of chicken|
These photos are not taken yesterday, but are from my attempt a few months ago. I’ve been wanting to post them, but since the recipe is on the booklet, I haven’t had a chance to steal them from my mom to type it out. I’ll only be writing the recipe for the bao ‘skin’ today, because I’m still kinda tired from all that travelling that I have done, and I need to figure out the exact measurements to the fillings since my mom usually just ‘agars’ (estimates) when making the filling (and so do I).
This is my last minute submission to Jasmine’s Aspiring Bakers #8: Bread Seduction as well as my 4th Muhibbah Malaysia Monday event hosted by Shaz of Test With Skewer and Suresh of 3 Hungry Tummies (sorry I didn’t exactly post this on a Monday cos I wanted to be in time for the roundup!)