Steamed Bao Buns
When I first saw and tasted Bao, I actually thought it was an Asian-fushion dish inspired by `mantou` or `baozi`, cut open in the middle and served as a burger. “What a brilliant idea!!” I thought, “who wouldn’t love a burger?” I’ve made Bao at home a few times, after I decided to post a recipe, I did research on it´s origin, wow… Bao came from China, originated in Fujian province, became popular on the streets of Taiwan. I have not been to either places, what a shame. I could have known this amazing treat long time ago.
In China, `割包-GuaBao` and `刈包´ are the names for Bao in Minnan language, all meaning slice opened mantou. Another name ‘虎咬猪´ means `tiger biting pig`, the cut open Bao looked like tiger´s opening mouth holding on to a piece of pork belly, this was the traditional way of serving it. Since then, many different fillings have been added.
In this bao recipe I used the traditional way of making Mantou, by kneading and raising the dough two times. It may be a bit time consuming, however, if you are after a smooth looking Bao this is the way to go for.
A few tips on raising and kneading: after you’ve raised you dough the first time, set the dough on a smooth, flat area, sprinkle flour, place dough on top, press and let out the air, knead the dough while slowing adding more dry flour to the dough. You may find it hard at beginning that the dough is not looking smooth at all, just continue, you will see a difference after about 100 times of kneading. By the end, you should have used all the extra flour and your dough should be very smooth. If you cut one small piece open, there should not be any bubbles appearing on the dough. Now you are ready to roll the dough into a long shape and cut them into small dices.
There is no baking soda added to this recipe, if you wish for a more fluffy look, you could add few drops of baking soda water during the second kneading process by applying gently with your finger tips.
Knead each dough dices if desired. This will give your buns a even smoother look.
For the flour, I used all purpose flour. If you reside in Norway, the flour I used is `Siktet hvetemel` from Møllerens and dried yeast from `Mors hjemmebakte`.
I mix my yeast with flour according to the instruction on my package. Adjust the method in accordance to the instruction of your yeast.
Wait 5 minutes after turning off heat before you opening the lid.