Beautiful Bau

Bao Buns

The first time I tried these little beauties I was in a little local Japanese restaurant and thought that bao was the buns with sweet pork inside them. When they arrived they had crunchy green lettuce and soft shell crab. I remember not being able to speak for a full thirty minutes as I danced in the fluffy bao clouds in heaven. Anyway, since coming back down to earth I have wanted to make them myself. I was a little scared as I had a lot to live up to. This recipe was adapted from a few that I looked at and tried and think that this is the easiest and most successful. You will need a steamer, whether it is a traditional bamboo steamer, a pot steamer or a modern alternative. I used a 4 tier electric steamer that I have had for years and it worked a treat.

For the filling, I bought a pre-marinated pork fillet and wrapped it in baking paper and foil and cooked it on 180 degrees for 1 hour. The sauce was a simple combo that I have included below, but even a store bought sweet chilli sauce or sweet soy sauce would work well.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar (this will be divide later)
  • 2 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Method

In a medium sized jug mix the water, milk, yeast, 2 tablespoons of sugar and canola oil. Whisk until the yeast is combined then allow it to rest and froth.

In a mixer (you can use the dough attachment or use your hands) combine the flour, the baking powder and salt and then add the remaining two tablespoons of sugar.

When the yeast mixture is frothy and ready add it to the flour mixture and mix until the dough comes away from the bowl easily. It should be a little stretchy at this point. Roll it into a tight ball and then place the dough back into the bowl and cover it with some plastic wrap or plastic cover. Leave for 2 hours in a warm place or until the dough has tripled in size.

Roll the dough out on to a clear surface (avoid using flour) and roll out until it is about 2 cm thick. With a round cutter (large-ish) I went for one that was about the size of a wine glass. Cut out the circles then brush the surfaces with a little oil. Roll out the remaining dough from the in between bits and repeat process.

Fold the circles over into a half moon shape and then gently roll the fold a little. This will keep the bao from flipping open when steamed.

Line your steamer with a little baking paper and spray the paper with some baking spray to prevent the bao from sticking to the bottom.

Place the folded dough shapes onto the baking paper and then get your steamer ready. Once the steamer is ready place the dough in your steamer for 10-12 minutes. You don’t want the steamer to be too full and for the water to be touching the dough as it will become soggy. The bao buns should be growing big and fluffy at this point and can be removed and the placed on to a warm plate with a piece of oiled baking paper underneath so you can repeat the steaming process with the rest of the dough. Be careful when removing them from the steamer as it gets jolly hot!

Once steamed you can reheat them in the steamer for 5 mins if you are making them ahead of time or freeze them and reheat when needed in a hot steamer.

Soy & Ginger sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce

Mix ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved and drizzle over the bao just before serving.