Steamed Buns Recipe

There is nothing I love more than steamed buns. If I had to choose between artisanal bread and steamed buns, I will choose steamed buns. For the longest time, I’ve put off making steamed buns because I was a bit intimidated by the process – and also because I didn’t have a steamer.

I’ve made steamed buns in the past but mostly it was used in the form of a traditional steamed bun where there’s filling inside and you can’t see it until you bite into it. See my Nikuman – Chinese Steamed Pork Buns recipe I made in the past to better understand what I’m talking about.

However, while I was making my Momofuku themed dinner, I stumbled across David Chang’s Pork Buns recipe which used the traditional steamed buns recipe but instead of stuffing it with filling, it was used almost like a taco wrap.

This recipe was really easy to make – it took about the same amount of time as making any standard bread recipe. Plus, I also found the bun a bit sweet which I like! The buns turned out really well – it was super soft and fluffy 🙂 I think I might use this recipe as the foundation of my other steamed buns recipe moving forward.

From an aesthetics point of view, this style of bun was great because you get to see exactly what you eat and it can be more visually appealing. It also lends a different texture than a crunchy lettuce wrap if you were to have pork belly ssam for example.

To learn how to make this steamed buns recipe, see below! To learn more about the Momofuku Pork Buns that I made using this steamed buns recipe (see photo above), click here.

Steamed Buns Recipe

Yield: 25 buns

Steamed Buns Recipe

Ingredients

  • Rounded 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cups warm water (105-110F)
  • 2 cups bread flour (all purpose flour will work too)
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dry milk powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • Rounded 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp vegetable shortening

Instructions

  1. First, activate the yeast by mixing it with the warm water. Add a pinch of sugar to give the yeast something to feed on. Wait approximately 5 minutes or until yeast is foamy which indicates it's ready to use.
  2. In a stand mixer bowl with a dough hook, combine bread flour, sugar, dry milk powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt.
  3. Slowly add in the yeast and water mixture and mix on slow speed. Once all the wet ingredients are added, add in your vegetable shortening. Continue kneading the dough until it is soft and smooth. It should also be tacky to the touch and bounce back when you gently poke it. You may have to hand knead your dough near the end to get the desired texture.
  4. Grease your bowl a little bit with some vegetable oil, including the dough to prevent it from drying out. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm area for about an hour or until double in volume.
  5. Once doubled in size, punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide the dough in half, then each half in half again until each piece weighs about 25 grams (rough size of a golf ball). It'll be easier if you have a food scale for this.
  6. Put those dough balls on a baking sheet lined with silpat or parchment paper and cover them with plastic wrap and allow to rest and rise for 30 minutes in somewhere warm.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare a bunch of parchment paper sqaures so that your dough will come out easily after they've been steamed.
  8. After 30 minutes are up, flatten each dough ball and roll it out with a rolling pin until they are long oval in shape. Fold each oval in half to form the steamed bun shape (almost like a taco shell). Cover again with plastic wrap and allow to rest again for 30-45mins again. They will rise a little bit more.
  9. Set up your steamer and once the dough has finish resting/rising, place them in the steamer and steam them for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, serve immediately with your filling of choice. Check out the Momofuku Pork Buns recipe we posted for inspiration!
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