We’re back baking at the Bread Baking Babes once again. This month, we’re giving our ovens a rest as Karen chose Steamed Bao Buns for us to make. This turned out to be a good thing for me, as my oven has started dying on me.
Steamed Bao Buns are Chinese yeasted buns with fillings. Today’s Steamed Bao Buns are like the Gua Bao. Unlike the pleated Chinese buns, the Gua Bao is made by folding over dough and steaming them. This creates a pocket which can hold a filling. Think of it as a kind of sandwich with steam cooked bread.
Steamed buns have been eaten in China for hundreds of years. These buns come from Northern China, where wheat was grown more than rice. There are many stories behind the origin of steamed buns. One tells of a Chinese general who needed to cross a raging river with his troops. The people across the river agreed to help him in return for fifty severed heads of his men. The general however managed to pacify them with large meat filled buns!
I have made steamed buns like Tingmo/ Ting Momos and Chinese Flower Steamed Buns before but not these sandwich-style Steamed Bao Buns. They’re very easy to make, shape and cook. Though typically filled with some sort of cooked meat, you can make any kind vegetarian filling too. I used a stir-fried vegetable and sprouts filling made with a Teriyaki stir-fry sauce.
The recipe below makes 10 Steamed Bao Buns. I halved the recipe and made six slightly smaller buns. They made for a nice evening snack. You can serve them at any time of the day, either as a meal or a filling snack.
Steamed Bao Buns
- 2 cups all purpose flour and more for rolling out the dough
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/4 tsp instant or active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1 1/2 tsp oil
- This dough can be kneaded by hand as well. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a processor or stand mixer. Add the water, and mix for about 30 seconds. Add the oil, and knead until smooth. The dough should not stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Cover loosely with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled. This can take anywhere from an hour to two. In the meanwhile, cut parchment paper into 10 four inch squares. These are to keep the buns from sticking to the steamer.
- Deflate the dough and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Give each piece a quick knead.
- On a floured surface roll each piece of dough out into a 3 inch by 6 inch oval/ rectangle with rounded edges. Fold each over itself in half lengthwise, and place on a parchment square. Cover them lightly with oiled plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let them proof for 30 to 45 minutes, until slightly puffy.
- When they’re ready, bring a pot or wok of water to a steady boil. Fit your pan or wok with a steamer, bamboo basket, or steaming rack just above the water. Place the Baos in the steamer, cover, and steam for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool slightly, fill with a filling of your choice, and eat.
- You can refrigerate or freeze leftovers. You can either thaw and re-steam for 3 minutes, or wrap one in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.
The Bread Baking Babes (BBB) is a closed group, but you’re most welcome to bake with us as a Bread Baking Buddy. Bake this month’s bread using Karen’s recipe and post it on your blog before the 28th of this month. Mention the Bread Baking Babes and link to her BBB post in your own post. Then e-mail Karen with your name and the link to the post, or leave a comment on her blog post with this information.
The Bread Baking Babes are –