Thursday, September 24, 2009

Bread Baking Babes - Chinese Flower Steam Buns

This month the lovely Karen of Baking Soda chose our bread for the Bread Baking Babes. She threw at us a really interesting pick - Xiang Cong Hya Juan Bao (Chinese Flower Steam Buns) from the book Global Baker by Dean Brettschneider.

This recipe differs in a couple of ways from "traditional" dough. First, the dough is not kneaded, but is rolled out thin, folded, rolled again, repeat repeat until your arms want to fall off. I was surprised that quite soon the dough lost its roughness and turned soft and silky. The other major way it is different from any other recipe the Babes have tried so far is that in the end the buns are steamed, not baked. How cool.

Here's the dough being rolled (and rolled and roooooooolled):

And justlikethat here's the finished buns ready to be cooked! So easy! Actually we took some video of filling and cutting and rolling the buns but as I write this I haven't looked at it yet. But you sprinkle the dough with chopped green onions and red chile, fold and cut into slices, then twist the slices, and knot.

The buns are steamed for 20 minutes.

And then ready to eat. I was going to make some sort of fancy dipping sauce, but no. We just used a wee bit of soy.

These buns were easier than I thought they would be, and pretty fun. These would be great to make as part of a larger dim sum meal. My original plan was to also make some sushi and dumplings to go along side, which then turned into buying some sushi and dumplings, but in the end I did neither. We just ate the buns on their own.

Many thanks Karen, for a great choice this month! Please visit the other Babe's sites (listed over on the right) for more steamy goodness.

Xiang Cong Hya Juan Bao
(Chinese flower steam buns)
makes 10 buns
"Everywhere you go in China you see people eating steam buns, also known as mantong. Typically Chinese, a sweet bread is combined with a savoury filling, such as red bean paste and barbecued pork, but take care and avoid using too much filling or the bun will fall apart during the rising and steaming stage. The baking powder helps to open up the texture and gives a little tenderness to the eating quality of the buns. If you can, use imported Chinese flour from a specialist Asian food market or store".

300 g Chinese flour (plain flour will do)
15 g sugar
15 g butter
good pinch of salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp active dry yeast
150 ml chilled water, placed in the refrigerator overnight

rice bran oil, for brushing on dough
40 g finely chopped spring onions or chives
25 g finely chopped red chillies
salt to taste

To make the dough, place all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, combine to form a very, very firm dough mass. Don't be tempted to add any water or the steam buns will be flat after steaming.
Place the dough on a work surface and, using your rolling pin, roll out to a thin strip, fold this in half and roll again. Repeat this 10-15 times with a 30 second rest in between each time. This is a way of mixing a very firm dough, the dough will start to become smooth and elastic as a result of the rolling process.
Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warmish place (23-25C) for 15 minutes. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece to a 25cm square. Brush the dough surface lightly with oil and sprinkle the chopped chives and chillies evenly over the dough. Season with salt.
Fold the dough in half and then cut into 2.5cm strips so that you end up with 10 folded strips. Stretch each strip and, starting at the folding edge, twist the two pieces of each strip over each other to form a rope.
Take the twisted rope and tie into a double knot, tucking the loose ends underneath. Place each bun with ends facing down on a 5cm square of non-stick baking paper** and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Prove for approximately 30-45 minutes in a warm place.

Bring a wok or saucepan of water to the boil with a bamboo steamer sitting on top. Remove the bamboo steamer lid and place the buns on the paper in the steamer 3-4 cm apart to allow for expansion during steaming. Replace the steamer lid and steam for 20 minutes. Repeat until all the buns have been steamed and are firm to the touch.


Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

They look great! I love the little green platter too.
I ended up throwing the filling on top too, mine didn't stay inside.

Lien said...

Wonderful buns you made. Yes the rolling was hard work I agree, but fun to make.

Baking Soda said...

They looks so good! I'm not surprised that they were eaten on the spot, mine disappeared in hungry boys' mouths in a wink. (Don't say I didn't warn you hehe).

O the rolling... my poor arm muscles got a pretty good -much needed- workout!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Your buns turned out beautifully! It sounds like a magical dough. Sorry I couldn't join in the fun.

花蓮民宿 said...


Debinhawaii said...

They look great--so pretty with the toppings.

Peabody said...

Those look cool.

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