When we lived in London, there was a Chinese bakery, Tai Pan, that was about 10 minutes walk from our house. We would occasionally go there for a weekend raid, of course, we didn’t have room for dinner that night. They made everything on site, from the delectable char siu bao (roast pork bun/barbecue pork bun) to the delicate daan tat (egg custard tarts), from the delicious gai mei bow (coconut bun, chicken tail bun) to the mouthwatering celebration cakes. I really miss that place. You can also buy all that stuff here in the US, but I’m allergic to everything!
I’ve been craving char siu bao for so long, I had to find a recipe that I could make at home.
A friend of ours W, invited us around to his house for dinner one night. It was “Chinese”-themed. It was as good a time as any, to try out my first batch of char siu bao. The bread was tender and soft, the filling was meaty, slightly sweet and absolutely more-ish. However, saying that, I think I may change the bread dough recipe next time…
I made 16, but only 12 of them managed to get to W’s house – I’ve no idea what happened to them!
BAKED CHAR SIU BAO
Adapted from Visual Recipes – Char Siu Bao
For the filling
- 1 t peanut oil
- 1 bunch of spring (green) onions, finely sliced
- 4 t oyster sauce
- 1 ½ t dark soy sauce
- 2 t of tomato puree
- 1 ½ T sugar
- Pinch of black pepper
- 6 T ready-made chicken stock (I used 3 T of the char siu juice and 3 T of water)
- 1 t sesame oil
- 2 t shaoxing wine
- 200 g (1 c) diced char siu
For the bao dough
- 1 T dry active yeast
- 100 g (½ c) sugar
- 160 ml (⅔ c) hand hot water
- 400 g (2 ⅔ c) white bread flour or plain (all-purpose) flour
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 80 ml (⅓ c) oil
- 4 t water
- 16 squares of parchment paper
- Melted butter for brushing (optional)
1. To make the filling – in a large frying pan (skillet), heat the oil until hot and sauté the spring (green) onions until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until thick and bubbly. When cool, cover and allow to chill in the refrigerator overnight.
2. To make the dough – in the bowl of a stand mixer, place the oil, sugar, yeast, egg and water. With the dough hook attachment, on medium speed, gradually add the flour until a soft and elastic dough is formed. Continue to knead on a medium speed for an additional 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with cling-film (plastic wrap), place into the refrigerator and allow for an overnight cold prove.
3. Take out the dough and sit at room temperature for about 1 hour. Punch the dough down and divide into 16 equal sized pieces, covering them with a damp cloth.
4. Flatten a dough ball slightly, making the edges thinner than the middle and fill it with approximately 1 T of filling, seal and place onto a piece of parchment paper seal down. Repeat with the rest of the dough and filling.
5. Cover the filled bao with a cloth and allow to prove for 1-1 ½ hours or until puffy and well risen.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F and bake the buns in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes (turning half way to ensure even browning).
7. As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush with melted butter and leave to cool slightly before devouring. Enjoy!