Chinese steamed buns and bao

buns, steamed, steamedbuns, steamed buns, Chinese. burger, baking, steaming, homecook, philip, BBC, BBC1, philipfriend, Surrey, UK

Soft, pillowy and slightly sweet, steamed buns are a joy to eat. Perfect for a burger such as a sticky, spiced burger flavoured with lemongrass, ginger, soy sauce and the like.

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The dough for the buns is very easy to make and can be made into smaller buns for sliders or larger ones for burgers.

For sliders (mini burgers in small buns), I cut the dough into 25g pieces, and for burgers I go up to about 50g per bun.

For bao buns

You can also roll out thinly, just under 1cm or so to a circle or oval, brush lightly with oil and lightly fold over to give bao buns. I don’t sprinkle over seeds for bao, but you can do. These will then pull open for filling.

These then prove for about an hour until slightly puffy before steaming for about 10-15 minutes.

In later posts, I will give the recipe for the following:

  • spiced burgers to go inside the sliced buns
  • filled buns that you can get in wonderful Chinese restaurants:
  • Or just sliced and filled with simple hoisin chicken/pork/vegetables

However, the recipe below for the steamed buns is open to a variety of fillings, whether spiced or not.

Recipe: makes about 20 sliders or 10 larger buns

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon easy-blend (“instant”) yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 150-170g cold water or a mixture of milk and water
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil, optional
  • toasted sesame seeds or sesame seeds, optional

(1) Mix the dough ingredients, apart from the sesame seeds, together in a bwol and bring together for form a fairly firm dough. Add a little more water if needed.

(2) Cover the bowl and leave for an hour to two, depending on the room temperature, until the dough has almost doubled in size.

(3) Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly to knock out the air. Divide into pieces: eg) about 25g pieces for sliders or 50g for burgers.

(4) Shape the pieces into a ball and roll the tops in sesame seeds or poppy seeds, if using. Place each on a small square of greaseproof and put into steamer baskets, keeping them apart to allow them to rise.

NB: I normally get 2 larger ones per steamer, which I like to stack when I steam. Alternatively, place the balls of dough onto a large tray and leave to prove at room temperature, loosely covered, for about an hour or until well risen.

(5) Place the steamer (or stacked steamers) over a pan of simmering water. Put the lid on and steam for about 9 minutes for sliders and 15 minutes for larger buns. Keep the lid on until they have cooled before splitting in half and filling.

NB: taking the lid off when the buns have just cooked can make them develop a wrinkly surface. 



Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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