Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fluffy Soft Steam Buns & Chocolate Swirl Mantou (超软蒸包和巧克力卷馒头 )

I have been looking for the perfect steam bun / bao recipe for a long time now. And it almost seems like most of the recipe turns out the same. Soft when just steamed but not so a few hours after it cooled down and needs to be reheated to get the same soft texture. Ohh...but it's not so for this new recipe. :) It stays fluffy soft for a good whole day or longer. Really! But you know what, I discovered this recipe through trial and error.....lucky me right? Lol!

This recipe is adapted from Carol 自在生活's 奶黃包. Initially, I had the full intention to use her recipe, but in the midst of multi-tasking in the kitchen, I added 74g of unsalted butter into the dough (by accident) and it was all good there after, lol! Trust me, it still turns out wonderful. :) You must be thinking, who uses butter for steam buns? Aren't you suppose to use shortening or something? You're right...but the butter scent wasn't evident at all, besides I would choose butter over shortening any day. :) Curious how it all comes, well here is my version:

Ingredients for fluffy Steam Buns recipe:
Starter dough:
120g pau flour (original calls for plain flour)
1/2 tsp active instant dry yeast
80ml warm water
pinch of salt

Knead all the ingredients together till it comes together to form a soft, smooth dough. Chill in the fridge up to 6-8hrs before use.

*Note: I increased the portion to about X1.5 to have more to make chocolate swirl mantou. So feel free to portion to your own liking.

Main Dough:
All of the above starter dough, approximately 165g
1.5 tsp active instant dry yeast
450g pau flour (Carol's recipe uses plain flour)
270ml fresh milk
40g caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
74g unsalted butter, room temperature

Red Bean / Lotus paste filling

Method for Red bean / Lotus paste steam buns:
  1. Place everything in a large mixing bowl except the butter and knead till it comes together. Once it forms into a dough, add in the butter and continue to knead for a good 5 to 7 minutes on the mixer or 10 minutes by hand till it is elastic and smooth.
  2. Place the dough in a greased bowl and let proof till double in size. Punch out the air and divide the dough into 12 X 40g each. (Since I increased the recipe, I only weighed out 14 of the 40g portions and the rest I made into the chocolate mantou.) Reserve the rest of the dough for chocolate swirl mantou (chill in fridge) while you work with the buns.
  3. Take a dough portion and flatten it into a disc, making sure the center is thicker then the edges. place about 2 tbsp's worth of red bean / lotus paste filling in the center. Seal up and roll round. Place on a greased proof paper and put the bun into the steamer (already prep with water) to further proof for about 40 minutes. Repeat.
  4. Once proved, start the steamer and steam at medium high for 10 to 15 minutes. Note that do open the lid completely after steamed, open partially with a small gap for 15 minutes to let the buns cool slowly to prevent them to deflate.
For the Chocolate Swirl Mantou , here's the steps:
  1. Add 2 tbsps more of confectioner's sugar into the reserved dough and knead into it. Then I divide it to 2 equal portions and knead 1 heaping tbsp of Valronha cocoa powder to one of the portions. Let it rest for 10 mins covered before shaping.
  2. Roll both portions into 10cm by 20 cm rectangles. Brush a little water on the plain rectangle surface and place the chocolate rectangle on top. Seal the edges and roll up from the long side like a swiss roll and seal it nicely.
  3. Using a knife and cut the dough in to equal portions about 3cm thickness each. Place on a grease proof paper squares and also place in steamer prep with water. Let it proof for 40 minutes before steaming.
Just like any other mantou, it's pretty much plain in taste. Perhaps with a hint of chocolate taste and a wee bit more sweet then the dough used for filled ones. But the best part of all is the softness of this bao and mantou...fluffy! :) Check it out yourself:
This recipe is definitely a keeper for me. Perhaps will make it again with meat filling. :)

I will be submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #7 - Chocolate Delight (May 2011) hosted by DG from Tested and Tasted. Have you joined in the fun and submitted yours?

Okay folks, hope you all have a wonderful weekend! ;) Cheers!


ann low said...

Nice buns, I want some for tomorrow breakfast.
Have a nice weekend, Bee :)

DG said...

Wouw the Bao look so soft & love the swirl on the mantou! Thanks for sharing the tips that actually we can substitute butter for the shortening.

Jean said...

hey i have the same problem with buns too...they turn stale very quickly after a day. looks like this recipe is a keeper!

Cooking Gallery said...

These look so pretty, I remember my mum sometimes bought mantou at the supermarket and I loved it, especially filled with savoury meat sauce...!

Sonia ~ Nasi Lemak Lover said...

In fact, your buns look really soft and good, glad you managed to found a good recipe .

My Little Space said...

Wow, all the bao & mantou look very fluffy and delicious. How can I resist! Guess, these steamed buns are perfect for the relaxing weekend. Have a lovely day.

Blessed Homemaker said...

I've not made any yeast related bakes for a long time! My kids love the frozen mantous from supermarket and I always stock up in my freezer. Currently busy with some personal stuff, will attempt to make this one day.

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

Ooh, yes, this does look really soft and fluffy! I am just starting to experimenting with bread. Hopefully I will get comfortable enough to blog about it and move on to steamed paos :)

ReeseKitchen said...

Yum Yum nice and fluffy! Long time I haven't make paus too, after reading yours, I got to make some now...heehee!
Butter in paus...that's interesting. Wonder how it taste, must try your version soon!!

ICook4Fun said...

The Bao look really soft and white. I am still looking for boa flour here in the US. Can't seems to find any of it. So I just used plain flour and my bao turns out on the yellowish side and also harden within an hour. So next, I will be trying out recipe. Thanks for sharing Bee Bee.

茄子 said...


lena said...

bee2, i can see that it's really really soft! i'm already convinced! i'm going to keep this recipe for future use, thanks!

Joyce @ Chunky Cooky said...

Ur mantou looks very nice, with that swirls design. I am sure it tastes great too !

Mehjabeen Arif said...

Sounds so Healthy ! Love the Swirl !

Following U :)

Do visit me as time permits

The Sweetylicious said...

WOW! bee bee! you really read mind! im also loooking for such recipe. im definitely trying it! i love it more when you mention butter is not evident. AWESOME! thank you (:

Torviewtoronto said...

we enjoy steamed buns this looks fabulous

Passionate About Baking said...

Oh, that sounds totally good and for me! My children have been asking me to make mantous again. I'll definitely try your recipe. Thanks for sharing!
Btw, sometimes it's rather good to have mis-read ingredients! LOL.

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thank Ann. ;) hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

Thanks Doris. ;) yes, I guess you can use butter I'm place of shortening. I always felt the taste of shortening a little artificial. :P

Hope you will try them out too Jean. ;)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Cooking Gallery. :) oh yes, mantou is an Asian delight. I believe those that your mum bought are meat baos, not plain mantous. But I loooovvvee meat boas too, lol!

Thanks Sonia. Yes, I will use this recipe from now onwards. :)

Thanks Kristy. Well being the boa making expert, I hope I got your approval, heehee! Hope your weekend was a wonderful one too!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hope you will find time to steam some mantou yourself soon. Hope you and your family will like this recipe. Let me know ok? ;)

Shirley, hope to see your bread & boa posts soon. ;) best of luck!

Reese, actually the butter taste is not evident at all. :) And this pre-fermented dough technique is Pretty much the same as those of the bread method. :) hope you will try it out soon. :)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Gert, you can check out the original recipe which Carol uses plain flour verses the pau flour that I used. I think the result should more or less be the same. Hope you will try it out, it's really nice and soft. :)

you know 茄子, this is really a blessing in disguise. I was expecting the end result to be pretty bad but luckily it wasn't. :) yes, hope you'll try using butter in steam baos next time. :)

Thanks for trusting me Lena! :) hope you'll like this recipe and let me know how you like it ok. :)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Joyce! Appreciate you coming by and leaving me some compliments. ;)

Thanks Mehjabeen Arif! Hope to see you around here often!

Hey Jasmine, hope that this recipe works out great for you. Happy steaming!

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Thanks Torviewtoronto!

Thanks Jane. Hope you and your kids will like this recipe. Happy steaming!

Jo said...

The buns look really soft and fluffy. You know what ... I've never tried a steam bun before. Time to get cracking.

Passionate About Baking said...

This is very good! I steamed it today and I just can't get enough of them!

Delphine said...

Hi Honey Bee Sweets,
Your bao really soft & lovely, just would like to know for the starter dough could it be left longer than 8 hours or overnight, can I use shortening instead of butter as I am afraid it might be abit yellowish if I use butter. Also, when the buns are put into the steamer (already prep with water) for further proof, do you mean to say that I can steam starting with cold water at medium high and not to put in the buns when water are boiling hot. TQ.

Wira said...

Hi dear
As for the starter dough, will it only mix to the Main dough once its becomes a dough?.

Anonymous said...

Hi Honey Sweets
I intend to use ur mantao recipe to make longevity buns this Sunday and I do not mind using shortening. Pls let me know what is the amount of shortening to use.
The reasons I opt for shortening are because this fat I believe will prolong the softness and fluffiness of the mantao till the next day. Do u think I am right? What do u think of the mantao dough which takes 3 days to develop which is featured in Prima Superlite flour recipe.

Priscilla Poh

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Delphine, apologize for the slow response.  yes, u can leave the starter dough in the fridge up to 24hrs, but I've not try beyond that. Sure you can replace butter with shortening. Yes, that is what I mean about the steaming. Leave buns to proof further and then start to steam from cold water.

Hi Wira, sorry for the slow response. For the starter dough, you need to form it into a dough, chill it up to at least 6 hrs then add it to the main dough ingredients to form the main dough .

Hi Priscilla, actually whether u uses butter or shortening, the baos will still be super soft the next day and the next day and so on, so long as u give it a steam that is. I personally dislike shortening because it's artificial fat, and I love the butter scent, so it's really up to you to change the recipe. Also I haven't tried the shortening version so I can't advice u as much. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Good Day Honeybeesweets

Thnx for ur response. Cud u kindly advise me how did u add the red colour on the longevity buns.

Do u spray red colour using a bottle? Can I use a soft brush to brush colour onto buns just like we brush egg wash over buns?

And do I buy red or pink colour for longevity buns. Will red turn out too dark. Is pink just nice?

Priscilla Poh

Honey Bee Sweets said...

Priscilla. I used a toothbrush to add the color on. I used red but I felt it was too dark, so you can use pink if you like. There is no need to brush any egg wash on baos or mantous.

Anonymous said...

HoneyBee..i already tried this resipe for couple of time,its really turn great,because pau is my favorite dish but here in Japan i cant find pau flour,after i use your resipe niw i can enjoy fluffy pau.But i have 1 pau always flat after steaming,it could'n raise up..i steam using stainless steamer,plz give me i also make again but the result stil flat..oh i knead the dough using bread machine

Honey Bee Sweets said... have a name I can address you?

Anonymous said...

I just made these, they are light, and fluffy but the buns came out smelling, and tasting like yeast?

Jaques said...

Hi Bee Bee,
i m trying out your this recipe today but my dough is v wet and sticky. Is it meant to be like that? I'm proofing it now. Really hoping that it'll be successful. =)
ks in advance for your advice..

Unknown said...

Hi Bee, I came across this recipe when trying to find the 'best' mantao recipe that we like & after so many recipes, this one wins and never fails!! Thanks again for sharing this wonderful recipe.

I wanted to know what sort of mixer you have (i presumed stand mixer) for bread dough? Your bread recipe inspires me but I want to get a stand mixer that can do bread dough easily.


Honey Bee Sweets said...

Hi Miss V,

Thank you so much for letting me know that you have enjoyed this recipe! Appreciate it. Hope you will find more useful recipes from my blog in the future. ;) Happy Baking!

Anonymous said...

Your recipe produced good results, the pau texture came out fluffy and soft... thank you for sharing.