Soft & Fluffy Steamy Buns

Chinese Steam Bao Buns “挂包”

Craving for these chinese steam bao buns. Since I had to stay home, I had no choice but to make them. Made a lot of tweaks to the recipe and finally managed to get the right texture. This chinese steam bao bun recipe makes really springy, cotton soft and fluffy buns just like the restaurants. This recipe has been tried and tested many times! One of the key ingredient is Hong Kong Flour. You may be able to get them from specialty baking shops or chinese grocery shops.

Chinese Steam Bao Buns are popularly known as Chinese Hamburgers because it opens up like hamburger and you can put any filling in the middle. Popularly stuffed with braised soya sauce pork belly or famously known as Tau Yu Bak “豆油肉”. See braised soya sauce pork belly recipe: https://youtu.be/KzjqhOx8vkc

These Chinese Steam Bao Buns also taste delicious with butter and sugar, kaya, curries and any other savoury fillings.

Top tips:

  1. The key ingredient in this recipe is the Hong Kong Flour. Hong Kong Flour is a special flour to make Chinese Steamed Buns. 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. You should be able to find it from specialty baking supply shops, chinese grocery shops or online. I bought from Bake With Yen in KL, Malaysia. See pictures below
  2. After proofing, need to knead for approximately 2 minutes to knock out all the air bubbles. Also flatten the dough with the rolling pin and repeat twice. This is important to get smooth bun texture

Top Tips:

  1. 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
  2. Dough has to be rolled at least 3 times using rolling pin to get smooth, soft bao buns
  3. Serve the steam buns warm or 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.

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 brands 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

Prep timeCook timeTotal timeServes
1 hr 30 min10 min1 hr 40 min15 buns

Size of cup: 9 cm diameter

Ingredients:

  • 200-205 grams Hong Kong flour 香港水仙面粉 200-205克
  • 35 grams plain flour 中筋面粉 35克
  • 40 grams icing sugar 糖粉 40克
  • 2 grams baking powder 泡打粉 3克
  • 3 grams yeast 酵母粉 3克
  • 125 ml water 水 125毫升
  • 25 ml vegetable oil 菜油 25毫升

Method:

  1. Mix dry ingredients
  2. Add in water. Form a dough. Transfer to work surface
  3. Knead dough and while slowly adding oil for first 4-5 minutes. Continue kneading dough another 5-7 minutes until the texture is tacky
  4. Cover and proof for 40 minutes until double in size
  5. Sprinkle some flour and continue to knead for 2 minutes to knock out all the air bubbles
  6. Use a rolling pin and flatten the dough. Use as much pressure as you can. This is an important step to ensure you get a smooth bao bun texture. Fold over and continue to flatten dough 2 more times.
  7. Use a cookie cutter or a cup to cut out round shapes. Remove excess dough and cover excess dough with a towel or bowl to prevent from drying out
  8. Gently apply oil on the cut out round shaped doughs. Use a scraper to slowly release the bottom of the doughs. Fold into half. Transfer to a baking paper and place in the steamer rack. Cover to prevent from drying out. 
  9. For the leftover dough knead out the air. Flatten dough one time. Cut into the round shapes and repeat process
  10. 2nd proof for 5-7 minutes until buns are light. While waiting boil water in a wok
  11. Steam on preboiled water for 10 minutes on high heat. 
  12. Serve warm

Full recipe video for Chinese Steam Bao Buns “挂包”: