These Chinese Steam Custard Buns are super soft fluffy and the custard is so fragrant, smooth and creamy it just melts in your mouth! This special recipe is similar to the custard bao texture you have at the Chinese restaurants. They are not the chewy type but soft cottony fluffy texture. The custard is made mainly from egg yolks and milk and is very creamy after you steam it. I have made many versions of these buns and I thought this recipe is the best so far. If you want chewy buns, I have another recipe for that! Will post it soon！
Chinese Steam Custard Buns are Dim Sum favourites! You can find it in almost all Chinese Restaurants that serve Dim Sum. They are also called “Nai Wong Bao 奶黄包 ” 。 These steamed buns are different from “Liu Sha Bao 流沙包 ” . “Liu Sha Bao” also known as custard buns are made from duck eggs.
One of the key ingredient is Hong Kong Flour. In Chinese its called “香港水仙面粉”. Directly translated it is Hong Flour Waterlily Flour. It makes the bun whiter and have a softer, cake like texture just like the Dim Sum Restaurants. The texture is very different from using all purpose flour or just cake flour to make the dough. Also the process when using Hong Kong flour is different from all purpose flour. One key different is the proofing time. The proofing time for Hong Kong flour is very much shorter like half the time.
You may not have it now but its definitely worth the effort buying them later. You may be able to get them from specialty baking shop or chinese grocery shops. See picture
- Steaming wok has to be filled with water and the water at boiling point before placing the steam basket in to steam. Make sure the level of the steam basket is above the water level
- For custard filling. Recommended to use butter that do not melt too quickly at room temperature. This makes it easier to shape the custard filling
- Serve the baozi warm right after steaming. Best eaten warm. Baozi is soft and fluffy when its warm
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How to keep Steamed Baozi?
Let the steam bun cool to room temperature. Recommended to keep baozi a airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
If kept in the fridge, it can last for about 1 week. When ready to eat, remove from fridge and steam for about 10 minutes on high heat. (note: water preboiled before steaming). Serve warm to enjoy.
If kept in the freezer, it can last for about 2-3 weeks. When ready to eat, remove from freezer and steam for about 20 minutes on high heat. (note: water preboiled before steaming). Serve warm to enjoy.
I do not have a bamboo basket. Can I use a normal steamer?
Yes you can, but you need to prevent the water droplets from dripping on to your buns while steaming. Need to wrap the steam cover with cloth to prevent the it from happening
Why is my baozi not as soft and fluffy when cold or at room temperature?
Baozi or any steam cakes or breads becomes tougher when left at room temperature or cold. Baozi is always served warm or right after steaming from the steamer.
Once its cold, steam the baozi again to enjoy it the soft and fluffy baozi when its warm
Can I use all purpose flour to substitute Hong Kong flour?
Its not ideal to use all purpose flour to substitute Hong Kong flour because the the texture of the baozi is very different. All purpose flour will produce chewy buns. But Hong Kong flour will produce soft finer texture.
Also the process and the water content required is different when using all purpose flour. So its not ideal to substitute with all purpose flour
What is the best flour to substitute Hong Kong flour?
There may be other brand that sell flour specifically to make baozi. They are usually labelled as pau flour, low gluten pau flour. You may be able to find it at the Chinese Supermarket or Specialty Chinese Baking Shops. In Malaysia, I get from Bake with Yen
- 3 egg yolks 蛋黄 3个
- 150 ml milk 牛奶 150毫升
- 75 grams sugar 白糖 75克
- 20 grams cake flour 低筋面粉 20克
- 50 grams butter 奶油 50克
- 200 grams Hong Kong flour 香港水仙面粉 200克
- 60 grams wheat starch 澄粉 60克
- 45 grams sugar 白糖 45克
- 4 grams baking powder 泡打粉
- 3 grams yeast
- 1 gram salt
- 125-130 ml water
- 15 ml vegetable oil
Prepare custard filling first:
- Beat eggs
- Add sugar and beat until mixture is lighter colour
- Add cake flour, mix well until creamy colour
- Place butter and milk into a pot and heat up at medium heat
- Stir occasionally, remove from stove once you see steam or bubbles
- Slowly pour half of the milk mixture into the egg mixture and stir continuously
- Then pour back the egg and milk mixture into the pot with the remaining milk
- At medium heat, stir continuously until the custard mixture thickens
- Immediately reduce to low heat
- Stir until custard is lumpy
- Remove from stove
- Transfer custard into a bowl
- Cover with cling film. Make sure the cling film touches the surface of the custard to prevent the surface from drying up
- Put in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight
Shape custard filling into round balls (10 portions):
- Remove custard from fridge
- Take a heap tablespoon of custard mixture
- Place in the middle of your palm
- Gently press and roll into a ball
- Form 10 portions
- Place the custard balls into a container
- Put back into the fridge so that its easier to manage later
Make the dough:
- Add HongKong Flour, wheat starch, sugar, baking powder into a large bowl
- Mix well
- Add yeast into the middle of the mixture
- Slowly add water into the middle of the mixture while using the chopstick/or hand to mix the flour
- Form into a dough
- Add oil
- Knead until the dough is not oily
- Transfer to working surface
- Continue kneading until you get a smooth dough, approximately 10 minute
- Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap
- Proof dough for 15-20 minutes
- After proofing, continue to knead dough for 1-2 minutes
- Roll dough into long strip and divide equally to 10 portions. I usually use a weigh the dough
- Cover with a damp cloth to prevent from drying while working on each dough
- Form the divided dough into a ball
- Flatten with your palm
- Then use a rolling pin and roll on the sides of the dough to form a disk shape. Important: Middle is thick and the sides are thin
- Place the custard balls into the flattened dough
- Light press in the custard balls using your fingers or the back of a teaspoon
- Close up the sides of the bun and form into a ball
- Place into a bamboo steamer and cover to prevent from drying
- Continue the same method for the rest of the 9 portions
- Once all the custard buns are done, cover and proof for another 15 minutes before steaming
- You will know the custard buns are ready when you lift the custard buns and it feels light and airy
Steaming the custard buns:
- Heat up the wok at high heat
- Make sure the water is boiling hot
- Place the bamboo steamer on the wok
- Steam at high heat for 10 minutes
- Once finished steaming, remove bamboo steamer from wok and place on a wire rack
- Its Done! Have a Bite while its warm. Careful, the custard filling is quite HOT!
Full recipe video for Chinese Steam Custard Bun |Nai Wong Bao|奶黄包: