Mantou, Chinese Steam Buns| 馒头的做法 很松软

Mantou is a basic chinese steam bun. Mantou is served during breakfast or as a snack. In Malaysia, we have mantou at seafood restaurants with chilli crab or butter crab sauce. These steam buns are also fried and dipped in the crab sauce.

In this recipe, the steam buns are very soft and fluffy. The texture is very similar to those served in Chinese restaurants. These buns are not the chewy type. These buns have a delicate and cake like texture.

Mantou can eaten on its own or paired with sweet or savoury dishes. Can be dipped into condensed milk, chocolate sauce, curry, chilli crab sauce


One 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 Hong Kong Dim Sum Restaurants. The texture is very different from using all purpose flour or cake flour to make the dough.

I have another soft and fluffy custard bun recipe using Hong Kong flour. It seems to be very popular. See link

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

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. Press out as much air bubble as possible to get a smooth surface bun
  3. Flour the table surface to avoid the dough from sticking to the table
  4. If the dough gets stuck, use the scraper to lightly lift the dough
  5. Serve the baozi warm right after steaming. Best eaten warm. Baozi is soft and fluffy when its warm

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I do not have a bamboo basket, how do I steam the buns?

The bamboo basket is ideal for steaming because the water condensation will not drip on the buns. If you use a lid from the wok, recommend to wrap the wok lid with a cloth to avoid the water from dripping onto the buns

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 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


  • 210 grams (1-2/3 cups) Hong Kong flour 香港水仙面粉 210克 1-2/3杯
  • 25 grams ( 4 tablespoon) Wheat starch 澄粉 25克 4汤匙
  • 45 grams (1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon) icing sugar 糖粉 45克 1/3杯 + 1茶匙
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 泡打粉 1/2茶匙
  • 3/4 teaspoon instant yeast 酵母粉 3/4茶匙
  • 115 ml (1/2 cup less 2 teaspoon) room temperature water 室温水 115毫升 1/2杯 减 2茶匙
  • 20 ml (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) vegetable oil 菜油 20毫升 1汤匙 + 1茶匙

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