Hello! I am back and I hope you all had a great weekend…we went to Beijing for vacation. Being that this was my first time in China, I must tell you, it was amazing…I will, in the future, share some of the pictures that we took.
Being in China and exposed to all the Chinese food, all of a sudden I asked myself “how come I have not made Chinese steamed bread/bun?” Well, most of the time I would buy them frozen at the local Asian grocery store, either plain or filled with savory meat/vegetarian or the sweet version. Very different from when I used to live in Brazil. Because the Asian goods were not ready available, we had to make everything from scratch. After moving to US, we just got spoiled since we could find all the goodies easily available.
I remember the first time I introduced this buns to my husband, he looked at me and said “are you sure that this is cooked? It seems raw…” Even as I place the bun into my mouth, he was still hesitant but finally gave in and tried…Now he loves the homemade ones; he even spreads the buns with peanut butter and jelly or makes a sandwich with it.
These buns are very soft and pillowy… I love “playing” with the dough and making different shapes or into simple rolls. You can store the buns in the refrigerator or in the freezer. Just place them in the steamer for 10 to 15 minutes and you have a hot and steamy bun. Believe me this recipe is very simple!
1/3 cup warm water
1 ½ teaspoon yeast
2 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ tablespoon cornstarch, complete with all-purpose flour to final measurement of 1 ½ cup
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
¼ cup warm water
Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and add the yeast. Mix gently and let it rest for approximately 5 minutes, add the flour. Mix and let the starter dough rest in a warm place for approximately 1 hour, until the surface is bubbly.
In the bread machine bucket add the starter dough and the remaining ingredients from the main dough, except the water. Set the bread machine to the dough setting, slowly add the water until the dough is soft and smooth. When the dough cycle finishes, remove the dough from the bucket and place in a medium bowl cover with a plastic film and let the dough proof until it doubles its original size. It will take approximately 1 to 2 hours, depending of the room temperature.
Once the dough double its original size, knock the dough back (punch in down) gently and it is time to shape them…now the fun begins!
In this particular case, I divided the dough into 10 equal pieces and shaped them differently. I even added green onion in a couple of them.
Once you shape the buns, place them on parchment paper, cover with plastic film and let them rise in a warm place for approximately 30 to 45 minutes, or until almost double in size.
In the meantime get the steamer going. Place the buns in the steamer, making sure that there is enough space between the buns. Steam the buns in boiling medium heat for 12 to 15 minutes. Be careful when removing the buns from the steamer so the steam condensation does not drip on the buns.
Transfer the buns to a rack to cool. Serve them hot/warm.
Store them in the refrigerator or freezer.
If you enjoy this Chinese steamed buns you may want to check on this other Asian bread recipes like Red Bean Buns or Asian Style Sandwich Loaf from Simple Recipes.
Did you know that the steamed buns were typically eaten in the northern part of China, where wheat was grown abundantly? These steamed buns have mainly two textures, the soft and fluffy and the dense and firm, being that the first one was served in elegant restaurants and the latter one was mainly used for the working man (high carbohydrates).