Yesterday we made the bean paste. Today we are making Bean Paste Bao.
There are lots of other things for which one can use bean paste – Rice cake filling, Eight Treasure Pudding filling, a filling for a crepe….This way is a family favorite. And with my mom in town, this week was a good time to document the process of making them complete with measurements, pictures, and even a video.
The ‘Bao’ 包 (sometimes they’re called ‘Baozi’ – I think maybe that’s for a singular Bao. We’re just calling them Bao here because I’m easily confused and distracted) part we’re talking about here is the steamed dumpling dough cover part. In this post, we’re making Dou Sha Bao (Red Bean Paste Bao), but you could use this same yeast dough and steaming process to make a number of other Chinese dumplings and breads. The filling is what changes mostly. Go here to Wikipedia for a list of some different Baos and fillings – Baozi (Char Siu Bao ( BBQ Pork buns) has a slightly revised dough recipe. If you’re interested my blobbing about that , comment below- maybe that’ll be a future recipe posting)
Dissolve and proof yeast:
- 1 Package or 1 Tablespoon Yeast
- 1 Cup Warm Water
- 1 Tablespoon Sugar
Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes. It should get bubbly. ( If it doesn’t, either the water was too warm and the yeast got cooked, or the yeast is too old. In either of those cases, you’ll need to start over.)
- 4 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/3 C White Sugar
- 1 -1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
- 1/2 C Water
- 1 tsp Salt
Put this plus the yeast mixture into a food processor or mixer and mix until it becomes a big sticky ball. Then dump the dough on the counter and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth.
Oil a bowl and place kneaded dough in to rise. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until doubled in a warm place.
Knead the dough again. Cut the dough into 24 even pieces. Roll dough in some additional flour to prevent sticking, and with form into flatish balls.
From here on out the instructions are written out below, but while we were making the second batch of these in a week, we decided that if a picture was worth a thousand words, that maybe a video would be worth a million. Especially if the accompanying music was the Flight of the Valkryies.
Roll the balls with a floured smallish rolling pin. (Chinese ones can be made with one inch dowels cut into foot long (12″) lengths and sanded. Some Asian grocery stores sell them in the kitchen gadget area. My favorite ones are slightly tapered at the ends. )
The desired shape is kinda like a fried egg, with the dough thicker in the middle than on the sides. To achieve this, roll from the sides of the flatish rounds inwards halfway and then outwards, shift the dough 20-30 degrees and repeat until you have a round fried egg shape. Make sure your rolling surface is floured to prevent the dough from sticking.
Wrapping the bao involves taking small pleats all around the circumference of the dough and enclosing the filling.
When you’re all the way around, give the top a final twist and you’re done with one bao!
Repeat with the 24 pieces of dough. If you have more than one person participating, utilize division of labor. One person rolls the dough, another does the wrapping/pleating. (Our job titles are ‘Wrappy’ and ‘Rolly’)
Place the bao either directly into the steamer layers or on a well floured surface before steaming. We use aluminum steamers but you can use the bamboo kind. Put a little oil on a paper towel and coat the bottoms of the steamers with a little oil before placing the bao in to prevent sticking.
Layer two steamers over a pot with at least 3 inches of cool water and cover. Place pot with steamers (with the bao in them) over heat and bring water to a boil.
When the water boils, set the timer to 15 minutes and lower the boil to a simmer or slow boil. When the timer goes off, lift the lid, turn off the heat and take the bao out of the steamers.
These can be stored in the refrigerator for a week. Frozen for longer. Steam them again for a few minutes to warm them before eating. Or if you’re in a hurry to reheat and eat one or two refrigerated ones can be warmed, wrapped in a damp towel in the microwave oven for about 20 seconds.
Here’s the recipe sans pictures in case you want to print it out for the files.
Bao filling is hot and can burn your mouth. Use care and caution when wolfing down.
Encouraging remarks??!!?! Egad! I finally get credit in a movie and I can’t remember doing a thing! I never thought a Bao recipe would be funny, but that Flight of the Valkryie music is so perfect! 🙂
You are becoming quite a professional at this blogging venture! The “hand” actress was great, especially at the end.
Thanks! This has been a continuous learning experience. And my daughter and I had a great time putting the video together!
The music is actually the “Ride of the Valkyries.” And the Bao continue to be delicious in New Hampshire. 😀
Very Nice and really clear too! I will definitely be using your rolling technique next time I make bao. Thanks for the video!
Excellent! Yummy. Have you heard of General Bao? http://www.facebook.com/ChairmanBao
I meant to say…Chairman Bao. 😉
I have! The line was way too long outside of the food truck (I was at Fort Mason in SF) for me to taste a bao last time I saw them, but I hear they make a great bao!
They do make great Bao. They have a schedule on Facebook….if that is helpful. It seems like they come down to the Peninsula frequently.