I was looking forward to sharing this incredible recipe of Bao Buns with you guys. Bao Buns are soft & fluffy steamed buns. They do not only look cute but are also impressive party food.
The correct name of these buns is Gua Bao. But they are popularly known as Bao Buns. The usual filling is with pork belly but you can enjoy these buns with any filling of your choice. You can add grilled veggies, or glazed tofu, or cauliflower.
You can get store-bought Bao Buns from local Chinese stores. They have a large variety of Bao Buns. I prefer making them at home as I like the fresh taste of these Bao Buns. I make them in large quantities and freeze them for a lazy weekday dinner.
Making Steamed Bao Buns is not difficult but does have a lot of steps to follow. Once you finish making them, everyone will be delighted after trying these soft & fluffy homemade steamed buns.
SOME TIPS TO REMEMBER
- Yeast & Baking powder will help the buns to rise. For yeast to activate we need lukewarm water and not hot.
- Also when sugar or honey is mixed in water it helps in activating the yeast much faster and thus results in softer dough.
- Keep kneading the dough until it is smooth & soft to touch. It will take around 10-minutes at medium speed of stand mixer.
- Rub the surface with some oil, that way the dough will not stick when you start forming the buns later.
- When you fold each round in half add toothpick or chopstick in the middle to make a little gap in the middle. Flatten them a little to shape them like a bun.
HOW TO MAKE BAO BUNS
STEP 1: First add mix sugar or honey in lukewarm water with some oil. Then add Yeast and let it rest for 5-10 minutes until activated.
STEP 2: Then add all the dry ingredients in the stand mixer attached bowl. Using the Dough hook, start kneading the dough and slowly combining liquid so that everything binds together like a dough. Adjust the liquid more or less as needed.
STEP 3: Before putting the dough to rise, I recommend you knead it a couple of times. Add oil in the Instant pot and spread it all over. Transfer the dough in the Instant Pot, and let it rise using Yogurt setting of Instant Pot until it doubles in size and set a timer for 1 hour. Or you can also store at a warm place for 60-90 minutes.
STEP 4: Once the timer beeps, keep kneading again for 5 minutes to remove the air bubbles. Then start kneading the dough using a rolling pin until its 1 cm in height.
STEP 5: Use a cookie cutter or a small size cup to cut the rounds. Keep rolling the dough until all the dough is used.
STEP 6: On a baking tray cut out small pieces of parchment paper. Transfer these shaped buns over the parchment paper.
STEP 7: Cover them with a towel and place them in a warm place for at least 30 minutes, until puffed up.
COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How to Steam Bao Buns?
Transfer prepared buns in the steamer basket. Add water in the Pot and press Saute. When water is hot, insert steamer basket in the pot over the trivet. Close lid & steam for 10 minutes at the venting position. (Use an external timer because when steam is set at venting position, the timer doesn't work).
Stove-Top: Take a stockpot and add water. When water is hot, insert the steamer basket and cover it. Steam for 8- 10 minutes until buns have risen and are soft & fluffy.
What to fill Bao Buns with?
Bao Buns are often served with Pork and commonly referred as Pork Belly Buns. But you can still enjoy them with anything you feel like. I like to serve them with some spiced tofu/paneer & salad. Or you can also serve with your favorite protein with some greens.
How to Store Steamed Bao Buns?
I usually make them in bulk and store in freezer so that I can enjoy them for longer time. You can store them in refrigerator for 3-5 days or store in freezer for up to 2 months. When reusing steam for 5-7 minutes & enjoy with your favorite stuffing.
- CHILI GARLIC NOODLES
- SINGAPOORE NOODLES
- KIMCHI FRIED RICE
- PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE
- VEGAN THAI CURRY NOODLES
- SESAME NOODLES
- VIETNAMESE SPRING ROLLS
STEAMED BAO BUNS
BAO BUNS FILLING
- 4-5 Bao Buns
- First add mix sugar or honey in lukewarm water with some oil. Then add Yeast and let it rest for 5-10 minutes until activated. Then add all the dry ingredients (all-purpose flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder) in the bowl of an electric stand mixer.
- Using the dough hook, start mixing the ingredients at medium speed. Slowly start combining the liquid until it starts to form like a dough.
- Once you have sticky dough, start combing at medium speed for 10 minutes until you have soft & smooth dough.
- Once the dough is soft & smooth, I recommend to knead it for sometime with your hand.
- Add oil in the inner pot of Instant Pot and spread it in the pot. Now transfer the dough in the Instant Pot and close lid. Press the Yogurt button and set a timer for 60 minutes for the dough to rise and double in size.
Shape the Buns:
- Once the timer beeps, open lid. The dough should have doubled in size, punch it a couple of times and knead it again to remove all the air bubbles from the dough.
- Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is around 1 cm of height.
- Using a cookie cutter, cut out rounds from the dough. Re-roll & repeat the process for the rest of the dough.
- Fold-over every bun and then use the rolling pin to flatten it a bit so that it becomes shaped like a bun.
- Place all the buns in a large tray or baking tray and cover with the towel. Let it rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes for buns to rise. The buns will be puffed and risen in size.
- Instant Pot: Add 1 cup of water in the inner pot of Instant Pot and insert trivet. Add prepared buns in the steamer basket in a single layer. Insert the steamer basket over the trivet and close lid.(Note: Before steaming, take out the sealing ring so that the lid does not seal. )
- Press the Steam button and set the timer for 10 minutes with the vent in the venting position. After 10 minutes, open the lid and transfer the buns in a pan.(Note: At venting position, the timer will not work so you may need to use an external timer).
- Stove-Top: Use a stockpot and add water to it. When the boil starts to boil, add the buns in the steamer basket and insert in the stockpot, and close lid.
- Steam the buns in batches for 10-12 minutes.
- Add oil in the skillet/ Instant Pot and fry the onion. When the onion starts to change color add bell pepper and saute for another minute. Then add silken tofu & the dressing of your choice ( I have used Pad Thai Sauce). Mash the tofu using spatula or potato masher and cook until well combined. Adjust the the seasoning by adding salt & pepper.
- Once bao buns are steamed open them carefully so that they won't break. Add salad on one side & add Tofu filling on another side and close the buns & serve!
- Remove the sealing ring from the lid, otherwise sometimes pressure builds up. If you remove the sealing ring, the lid will not be sealed.
- If you set vent at venting position when steaming, the timer will not work. you can use the external timer for this purpose.
- Add water in the stockpot until ⅓ full.
- Place Bao Buns in the steamer basket and leave a little bit of space between the two buns and steam for 10 minutes.