Asian Sliders with Steamed Buns, Part I

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by Heather Harris Brady

I’ve been toying with a steamed recipe for a while now, because I love the steamed pork buns from a local restaurant. The dough the restaurant uses is obviously very hydrated and cooks inside a packet of aluminum foil – so before I add those levels of complication I wanted to get a handle on a more basic dough.

As my basis I used a steamed bun recipe from How to Cook and Eat in Chinese, along with the powdered milk from David Chang’s recipe and then I added some rice flour because it seemed like a good idea. My rolls are more beige, if you want pure white you’ll have to order some specialty flour – just search for bao flour. You’ll need a large bamboo steamer for this recipe.

Steamed Buns, Makes about 24 3″ buns

  • 1-1/3 c. warm water
  • 1 pkg. quick rise yeast
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 2-1/2 c. flour (regular or bao flour)
  • 1 c. rice flour
  • 2 t. salt
  • 1/3 c. powdered milk
  • 3 T. olive oil

Stir the water, yeast and sugar together in a mixing bowl, add the oil, then stir in the flours, salt, and the powdered milk.

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Stir well.

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Set it aside to rise until doubled in bulk.

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Punch the dough down and knead it until it’s smooth (about five minutes).

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Divide the dough into golf-ball sized portions and shape into rolls, gathering the ends into the bottom. Let rise on a lightly greased cookie sheet.

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When they are doubled in bulk fire up the bamboo steamer.

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You can put a piece of cheesecloth on each layer of the steamer if you like. Make sure the water is boiling briskly underneath.

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Transfer the rolls to the steamer. I could do about six per layer, a dozen at a time.

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Don’t peek until about 12 minutes has passed. The rolls should be firm with a shiny top.

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Inside you should have lots of nice holes with a chewy exterior.

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Transfer to racks to cool completely. I’ll post part two of this recipe on Wednesday – a filling to turn these buns into Asian-style sliders!

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One year ago: Marbled Peanut Butter Pie

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