Sunday, July 3, 2011

Steamed Buns (Baozi/Pau) 包子

Supreme big Baozi/Pau, anyone? 大包? 
Bread is the main staple food to Western Cuisine as in Baozi/Pau (steamed buns) is to Chinese cuisine.  Baozi is especially popular in the Chinese breakfast serving.  Baozi making shares similar process to bread making which requires  yeast dough, kneading and proofing with the only difference in its cooking method - steam instead of bake. Hence, baozi can also be regarded as stuffed steamed bread.
There are various types of baozi ranging from plain buns to stuffed baozi with various fillings. What filling can be used in baozi?  The classic fillings are meat (cha siu /BBQ pork/beef/chicken) or sweet fillings like red beans, lotus paste, kaya (coconut egg jam), peanut butter or even vegetables. I would say the list is too exhaustive to name and only imagination is the limit.
Having mastered the basic skill in Western bread making, I reckoned it was time to take up new challenges in learning up Chinese bread making J  I had two fun experience with my cooking members back in Auckland in making Shanghai pan fried baozi(上海生煎包). However, at that time I did not have the chance in making the yeast dough from scratch. The yeast dough was prepared and proof in advance and we were invited to go over to help in wrapping and pan fried.
Last Sunday, I decided to try out the steamed buns yeast dough recipe from Agnes Chang’s “Delightful Snacks and Dim Sum” cook book. With this yeast dough I had successfully made 4 big supreme big pao with shredded chicken breast, egg and yambean fillings and 6 small Kaya bao using my homemade kaya filling.    
Steamed Buns (Baozi/Pau) 包子
I was delighted that the texture of the steamed buns was very soft and springy. However, hubby commented that the taste of the meat fillings could have been improved with longer marinating time overnight in the fridge to further tenderize the chicken breast and the seasoning more thoroughly absorbed.   

Steamed Buns (Baozi/Pau) Basic Yeast Dough

500g pau flour,sifted  
½ tbsp instant yeast
½ tsp salt
100g sugar
3 tbsp shortening
240g water

1 tbsp double action baking powder

1.       Mix all the ingredients A together and knead into smooth and elastic dough.
2.       Cover with a piece of wet cloth and leave to prove until double its size. 

3.       Sift B top of the dough and knead well to distribute the baking powder until the dough is smooth again.
4.       Cover and allow dough to rest for 15 minutes before shaping.

Supreme Big Pau Fillings :

A slice of chopped ginger
500g shredded chicken breast/pork
200g yambean sliced into small pieces  
6 mushrooms (soaked and sliced)
6 Hard boiled eggs (shelled and cut into ½)

Marinade for meat : 30 minutes
2 tbsp oyster sauce
2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp chicken stock granules (optional)
1 tbsp Chinese cooking wine (optional)
1/2 tsp sesame oil
¼ tsp pepper, 1 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp corn flour  

1.       Heat oil in a pan and saute the ginger till fragrant. Add in marinated meat and mushrooms and stir fry till aromatic.
2.       Add in yambean (sengkuang) stir well and cook for 5 minutes until soft. Taste and dish up and leave to cool and chill in the fridge for 3 hours. Divide into 12 portions.
Chicken/Kaya filing
3.       Divide dough 12 portions and shape balls.
4.       Flatten, roll into a round shape and add 1 tbsp of filling and pleat the top into a pau.
5.       Line pau with a piece of white paper and let it prove again for another 15 minutes.
6.       Steam pau with high heat for about 15 minutes or until the pau is cooked.
7.       Serve hot.


A)     500克包粉 (篩过),1/2 大匙速发酵母,1/2 小匙盐,100克细糖,3大匙白油, 240ml
B)      1大匙双倍发粉

1. 将所有材料(A) 混匀搓揉8-10分钟至光滑不黏手的面团。
2. 盖好发酵1小时或至两倍大。
3. 将发好的面团,加入(B),再将面团揉至光滑,休息15分钟。


1 / 2茶匙麻油
1 1 / 2茶匙玉米粉




  1. Discover blogs, pics and videos you otherwise wouldn't have at Or submit your blog postings to be part of the big collection.

  2. Lovely buns although I have not tried before, like the filing too.

  3. The supreme bun is a special in Malaysia. That's the 1st breakfast I had when I first visit Malaysia. I'm missing Malaysian food.

  4. Very nice. I have not tried this before. They look wonderful :)

  5. Hi, I always find pau dough too dry and tough to knead when following the recipe (50% or less water content). The dough keeps on tearing as I knead and it is too dry to be smooth and to be stretched into thin membrane like yours... Should the pau dough consistentcy be similar to bread dough? You think I should add more water? :(

    1. Penny:
      Always treat making pau as if making bread, same kneading method, except pao only prove once and steam but bread prove twice and bake. :-)

      Yes, you can try to add more water if you feel the dough is still dry. Sometime, we have to play by eyes and sense for the reason whether to adjust the recipe. The different brand of flour used might also affect the texture of the dough.

      Kneading process is important, as you said your dough tear meant dough not enough kneading, you need to knead further until you reach the elastic texture, then you dough is ready to prove.

    2. Dear Ying:
      Sorry for naming wrong person. Welcome to my blog.

    3. Thanks for your swift reply :) Normally I knead for around half an hour and the dough still tears when I push the dough with my wrist. I thought I overkneaded it @@ What brand of pau flour do you use? I used blue key all purpose flour (1 m'sia package) mixed with some cornflour to lower the protein content...

    4. Dear Ying:
      Usually I get my pao flour from bakery ingredients shop. I don't use the normal all purpose flour.

      Try to look for Pao flour, which already ready mixed and you will have more success rate in using them.

    5. Ok I'll try to get the blue key brand pau flour and try. Thanks a lot :) Will update you soon.

    6. I've bought Blue Key brand's Pau flour and tried twice with it. I didn't add extra water and it is a bit dry but still manageable. And guess what, in both attempts I kneaded for one whole hour! No smooth skin still :( Must be some real serious problem with my kneading. Haha. But anyway, I'll be working harder on it. These are some of the 2nd round buns, filled with corn custard.

    7. Ying:
      Thanks for sharing your photo, the Pao looks good! How's the texture? soft?
      You have really put effort in kneading. :-)
      Not really smooth dough you are looking for, if you mix with wholemeal flour you would expect smooth dough, but more like a stretchable texture of the dough. When you press on the dough, it feels soft as if you are touching baby's buttock that kind of softness ....hahaha...
      practise make perfect in short, keep on trying.

    8. Sorry what I meant if you mix with whole meal flour the dough might not get smooth dough.

  6. I made it for breakfast the next day, and it tasted nice and soft after re-steaming :)
    My dough is normally dry and can't be stretched much. Haha. And even though it's dry, the resulting pao is still flat and wouldn't hold its round shape :(
    But I guess in the end the taste is more important than its looks. Hehe...



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