Have I said it yet – have I said Happy New Year!? I can’t believe it’s 2016 – insane! If I haven’t, let me take this chance to wish you a happy and healthy new year; I hope it brings you everything your heart desires. So far 2016 has seemed extra busy and just a little bit chilly. We’ve had a little bit of snow, which is super exciting around these parts. Mike and I have been making an effort to walk around our little neighborhood because it looks like a winter wonderland with frozen tree branches and dripping icicles.
Whenever we go on a walk, we inevitably pass by people and I have this instinctual urge to wave at random people. I do it all the time when I see someone waving in my direction. It’s an automatic gesture for me. Wave at me and I’ll wave back, if I know you or not. It’s led to some comic situations, whereupon after waving, the person will give me a confused look. I’ll look around, realize that they’re waving at someone behind or beside me and my face will turn a colorful shade of beet-red.
The reason I do it is because I’ve waved at people before (people I know) only to have them not wave back. I always feel like an idiot. I suspect that these people that don’t wave back at me are a little too cool for school. Or maybe they have bad eyesight? Maybe they’d wave if they knew that waving could lead to an invite to eat these chashu pork buns?
I used the slow-braised chashu from this post and tucked them into fluffy white buns made from this recipe. I’m kind of sort of obsessed with folded over Chinese steamed buns. Actually, I’m kind of sort of obsessed with all steamed buns. There are so many delicious ones out there, but the fold over guys are perfect I think because they’re kind of a like a steamed bun taco and you can basically stuff them with anything and they taste delicious.
The recipe for the steamed buns is pretty straight forward. Like most bread recipes, it’s time consuming because of the rise time, but if you’re patient, you’ll be rewarded with light and fluffy buns that are perfect for filling. And if you have leftover chashu in the fridge, you’re golden. Or you could stuff them with bacon and eggs, fried chicken, or banh mi fillings? Really, the possibilities are endless. In fact, I’m wishing I doubled the recipe so I could have had extra frozen buns in case of a bun-mergency. Next time for sure!
Fold Over Steamed Bao Recipe via Lady and Pups
yield: makes 6 large bao
- 140 grams warm water (100°F), about 2/3 cup
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 10 grams heavy cream
- 300 grams Asian bread flour
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir together the warm water with the sugar. Sprinkle on the yeast and let proof for 10 minutes. There should be tiny bubbles on the surface.
Add the heavy cream and flour and knead on medium speed until smooth and elastic, about 5-6 minutes. The dough will start out quite dry, but continue to knead until all the ingredients are incorporated. The dough should be stiff but not sticky. If sticking to the sides of the bowl, add an extra tablespoon of flour. If it doesn’t come together as a dough, add an extra teaspoon of cream.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cover with a kitchen towel. Let proof until doubled in size, about 1 and half to 2 hours.
Once doubled, place the dough on your work surface. You shouldn’t need flour it; the dough shouldn’t be sticky. Punch the dough down and use a rolling pin to shape into a rough rectangle. Roll it up into a jelly roll. Rotate it 90°, roll out again into a rough rectangle and then again into a jelly roll shape. Cut into 6 equal pieces, cover and let rest for 20 minutes. While the dough is resting, prep 12 3.5 inch squares of parchment paper.
Once rested, shape the dough into a rough oval with your hands. Roll out into a long rectangle. Fold in half with a piece of parchment paper sandwiched in the center. Place bun on another square of parchment paper.
Arrange buns in a steamer with 1 1/2 inches of space in between. Cover the steamer with plastic wrap and let proof for 1 hour. The buns will be puffy but not quite doubled.
Add water to a pot or wok and bring to a boil. Turn down to medium and place the steamer (with the lid on) on top. Steam on medium for 10 minutes. Open the lid at 3 minutes to let some steam out – you don’t want the temperature to get too high as this leads to inflating and deflating buns. Once steamed, the buns should be puffy. Remove from the steamer.
Mike thought these buns were a touch on the sweet side, so feel free to dial the sugar down to 1-1 1/2 tablespoons.
Asian bread flour or Hong Kong bread flour can be found at most Asian grocery stores. Asian bread flour makes your buns more white and fluffy – it’s very very white with a slightly lower gluten content. I haven’t tried this recipe with all purpose so I’m not sure what the result would be but many bbq pork bun recipes online use all purpose flour, so I expect that you would get a similar result.
Chashu Pork Bao Recipe
yield: as many as desired
- bao, as many as desired
- slow braised chashu slices
- hoisin sauce, to taste
- cucumber slices
- sliced green onions
- sriracha, if desired
Assemble the buns: spread on a touch of hoisin on the bottom bun and layer on a couple slices of pork, cucumber, and green onions. Enjoy with sriracha, if desired.