I was really in the mood for a nice fresh new bread recipe so I did some exploring and found a recipe for Chinese steamed buns. Thought I would give it a whirl.
*word of caution; homemade bread recipes are pretty much an all day event, well I guess more like a half day event. Make sure to read the directions fully before embarking on this journey. It takes about 40 minutes to prepare the dough, 2 1/2-3 hours for the dough to rise, 40 minutes to shape the dough into buns and let rise, and another 30-45 minutes to steam the buns.*
Makes about 24 buns
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour and vital wheat gluten)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar (I used agave)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Optional few tbsp chia seeds
1) Mix together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
2) Mix in 1/2 cup warm water, flour, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vegetable oil. Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
3) Punch down dough, and spread out on a floured board. Sprinkle baking powder evenly on surface, and knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in a covered bowl. Divide each half into 12 parts. Shape each part into a ball with smooth surface up. Put each ball on a wax paper square. Let stand covered until double, about 30 minutes.
4) Bring water to a boil in wok, and reduce heat to medium; the water should still be boiling. Place steam-plate on a small wire rack in the middle of the wok. Transfer as many buns on wax paper as will comfortably fit onto steam-plate leaving 1 to 2 inches between the buns. At least 2 inches space should be left between steam-plate and the wok. Cover wok with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for 15 minutes. A picture of the setup I used is below:
5) REMOVE LID BEFORE you turn off heat, or else water will drip back onto bun surface and produce yellowish “blisters” on bun surfaces. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.
Leftovers can be frozen for later use but they are best when eaten right away.