My first attempt at steamed bao
During the China tour, we ate a lot of interesting foods including steamed bao (buns). These were often served for breakfast. They're white, chewey bread balls, both plain and stuffed. Common fillings included pork, veggies, tofu, or fruit and nuts. I came home and decided to try my hand at making steamed bao. It was fun and also more work than I expected!
I used a recipe in the book Dim Sum: The Art of Chinese Tea Lunch, by Ellen Leong Blonder. (Here's a similar recipe.) This is a great little book, and it has a solid introduction on Chinese teas. I made two varieities of steamed bao, onion/tofu with a sweet soy sauce and another with nuts and apples.
The basic outline is to make a special yeast dough, let it rise, knead it down, divide into pieces and fill/shape, rise again, then steam. It took the bulk of a day. The good news is that these freeze very well, so you can make them ahead and resteam for serving.
Ready to steam
These steam for about 10 minutes. The steamer basket should be lined with moist cheese cloth, and the bao should sit on parchment paper.
WARNING! Don't let the cheese cloth hang over the edge of the steamer basket on a gas stove. Oops! It catches on fire, I know first hand. No permanent damage.
My steamed bao turned out well. Good flavor, nice texture. I would like to make them again, but next time I'll know what I'm getting into! :-)