Extra Large Chinese Barbecue Pork Buns–Char Siu Bao (蜜汁叉烧包)

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INTRODUCTION

Frankly speaking, I never expect my Char Siu Bao (or barbecue pork steamed buns) were so big. It shocked me actually. I expect it to be a cute little buns like at least 50% similar to those in the dim sum restaurant. When I opened my steamer cover, the buns have increased by about almost 100%and most of the flower design became not obvious.

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I roughly knew the reasons. It  could be due to the adequate proofing time and the use of double acting baking powder instead of the normal baking powder. .In addition, it is because of the weightage of the dough. While for a small Char Siu Bao, the dough shall be about 30 grams but as my hands are rather big, I have wrapped using 60 grams of dough and this is the dough that is just nice for the wrapping .

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As consistent with other post, it will definitely not a bad idea to understand more about Char Siu Bao via Wikipedia:

“Cha siu bao or char siu bao is a Cantonese barbecue-pork-filled bun (baozi). The buns are filled with barbecue-flavoured cha siu pork. They are served as a type of dim sum during yum cha and are sometimes sold in Chinese bakeries。 Cha siu refers to the pork filling; the word bao simply means “bun”. Although visually similar to other types of steamed baozi, the dough of steamed cha siu bao is unique since it makes use of both yeast and baking powder as leavening.This unique mix of leavening gives the dough of cha siu bao the texture of a slightly dense, but fine soft bread.  Encased in the centre of the bun is tender, sweet, slow-roasted pork tenderloin. This cha siu is diced, and then mixed into a syrupy mixture of oyster sauce, hoisin sauce, roasted sesame seed oil, rice vinegar, shaoxing wine or dry sherry, soy sauce, sugar and corn starch.” (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cha_siu_bao

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A few points can be concluded from such definition. It is leavened using both yeast and baking powder. In fact, for smiling Char Siu Bao like those in the Hong Kong Dim Sum restaurant, another ingredient is needed – ammonia bicarbonate. A type of leavening agent that will produce carbon dioxide when heated and hence giving the dough more air and a fluffier texture. Secondly, It is usually seasoned with oyster sauce, some wine, sugar, dark soya sauce. and corn starch.

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Preparation is not very tough but patience is needed for the proofing the dough.The buns will have a very soft texture as a result of adequate proofing period. As for the filling, I have purposely limited the use of too many seasonings. Basically just oyster sauce and sugar. Most other ingredients can be omitted if necessary.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

Serving : About 20 steamed buns depending on the size.

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Dry Ingredients (A)

  • 600 grams of bao flour or Hong Kong flour or low protein flour (水仙面粉)
  • 50 grams of corn starch or potato starch (生粉或玉米粉)
  • 100 grams of castor sugar (细砂糖)
  • Pinches of salt (盐巴)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of double acting baking powder/baking powder (双重发粉或发粉)
  • 1 packet (10-11 grams) of instant dry yeast (即时酵母)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ammonia bicarbonate (optional) (臭粉 (可免))

Wet Ingredients (B)

  • 320 grams of lukewarm water (温水)
  • 30 grams of corn oil or cooking oil (粟米油)

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Fillings

  • 500 grams of diced barbecue pork (叉烧)
  • 1 big onion – diced (大葱)
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil (麻油)
  • 3 tablespoons of castor sugar (细砂糖)
  • 3 tablespoons of Chinese cooking wine (烹饪酒)
  • 5 tablespoons of oyster sauce (耗油)
  • 2 tablespoons of dark soya sauce (not in picture) (酱油)
  • About 5 tablespoons of corn starch/potato starch with 5 tablespoons of water (5勺生粉或玉米粉加5勺的水)

Others

  • Some cupcakes cups or square baking paper (water proof) for about 8 cm x 8 cm (纸杯或方形防水纸)

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Put all dry ingredients (A) in a whisking bowl. Use a spoon to stir the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Add in the lukewarm water and oil.  Use the same spoon to roughly stir it until it form a sticky dough. Use the machine dough hook to knead the dough for another 15-20 minutes or until the dough looks smooth and leaves the side of the whisking bowl. If the dough is too wet for the kneading, add 1-2 tablespoon of flour to continue. You can also do this manually if you don’t prefer to use the machine kneading.

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  • In a flat surface, dust with some flour, transfer the dough to the flat surface and knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough does not stick to your hand. Shape it into a ball, put it in a bowl. Cover with a wet towel or clingy wrap and let it prove for 30 minutes (or double in size) whenever is earlier. Note that this is a rather soft dough. As such, do add some plain flour or bao flour if it is too soft for you to handle. Once ready, divided the dough equally. Suggested dough size is from 30 grams to 60 grams.

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  • While the dough is proofing, get ready the ingredients for the fillings. In the frying pan, add 4 tablespoons of cooking oil, sauté the onions until fragrant. Add in the barbecue pork and stir fry until well mixed which took about 1-2 minutes. Add in the cooking wine, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, oyster sauce and dark soya sauce. Stir fry for another 2 minutes. Add in the starch solution and off the heat when the starch solution turns transparent. If it is not sticky enough, add in more starches.

  • It is best to take some filling and taste if it suits your taste buds. Note that you have to be rather high handed with your seasonings because the bun skin is rather plain in taste. Once ready, set aside for later assembly.

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  • Divide the dough with your desired sizes. For standard size, it is about 30 grams of dough. However, for this illustration, I am rather uncomfortable with 30 grams and my final comfortable dough volume is about 60 grams.

  • Take a dough, shape round and flatten in a surface dusted with more plain flour or corn starch or bao flour. Put 2-3 teaspoons of filling in the centre. Seal the edges and put on a piece of cupcake cups or square baking paper. Let it proof until it is almost double in size.

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  • Once the proofing time have reached, get ready a steamer full of water. Bring to boil and steam the buns in the steamer under high heat for about 12-15 minutes. Once ready, let it sit in the steamer for 5 minutes before open the cover. Best served hot as a snack item.

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CONCLUSION

Not something very difficult to prepare. Remember to use the bao flour, a type of specially bleached flour for the white colour. Due to my big hand, my Char Siu Bao is also rather big.. ha-ha. I am sure all of you can handle much smaller dough than I am and come out with a cute, little, normal sized Char Siu Bao.

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Hope you like the post today. Cheers and have a nice day.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX (updated as at 21 March 2014)  here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE .  

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Two Types of Asian Soft Buns For Your Breakfast–Roast Pork Buns and Kimchee Buns

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INTRODUCTION

This is a post on breakfast soft buns making. In Asia, it is rather common that breakfasts were served with soft, fluffy light buns. They can either be plain or with fillings. Since my wife have prepared some Kimchee two day’s ago, I have decided to prepare some Kimchee buns. You can know how to make the Kimchee HERE. The sour and spicy kimchee blends relatively well with the plain buns. However, realizing that some readers may not be able to get Kimchee or may not fancy Kimchee buns, this post also introduce another common type of common filling, the sweet roast pork fillings. Roast pork can easily be substituted with Chinese Barbecue pork if desired. As I do not have any have any bread machine at home, however, therefore, I have prepared this using a cake mixer. If you have a bread machine, you can use the bread machine to make the dough.

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WHAT IS REQUIRED

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  • 250 grams bread flour
  • 50 grams cake flour
  • 5 grams of instant dry yeast
  • 50 grams of castor sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
  • 100 ml of lukewarm water
  • 50 ml of lukewarm milk
  • 40 grams of butter, soften at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk for egg wash

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STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • Mix all ingredients except softened butter and beat at slow speed for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the softened butter and continue kneading at medium high-speed for about 20-30 minutes or when the dough did not stick to the wall of your mixing bowl and do not break when you pull the dough. If the dough is too sticky, it is okay to add one to two tablespoons of flour gradually until it is not overly sticky before the machine kneading starts.

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  • In the flat surface dusted with normal or bread flour, take out the dough from the mixing bowl and slightly knead it using hand for 1-2 minutes and shape it into a ball.

  • Lightly oil you mixing bowl and place the ball in the bowl. Cover with damp cloth or cling wrap (to prevent moisture loss).

  • Leave it to proof until almost double in size. This should be about 30-45 minutes depending on the day’s temperature.

  • Take the dough out, punch into the dough to let any trapped air escaped. Knead for one minute and divide into 8-10 equal size round ball.

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KIMCHEE BUNS


Kimchee Fillings

  • 400 grams of kimchee cut into small pieces
  • Some sesame seeds for decoration.

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  • Cut the kimchee into small chunks .Take one portion of the dough, use the roller pin or hand to flatten the dough. Put 1-2 tablespoons of kimchee on top of the dough.

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  • Wrap the dough around the kimchee filling ball as even as possible.

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  • Another way is to prepare some bread rolls. Use 2-3 portions of dough, knead until it become a ball. use a rolling pin to flatten it into a flat rectangular piece of dough of about 1 cm thick. Put some kimchee (or this illustration, I have put in some sausage as my kids love sausages) on top of flat doll, Roll the dough and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top of the dough.
  • Put it in a baking tray and cover with the same damp cloth. Let it proof for another 30 minutes or when balls were almost double in size. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds if desired.

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  • Set the oven to temperature 190 degree Celsius.
  • Put  in the oven and bake at 10-15 minutes. After 10 minutes of baking, egg wash (please see below) the buns quickly and continue baking for about 5 minutes or when the top start to turn slightly golden brown. Alternatively, you can egg wash first before you send into the oven. I prefer to egg wash at the latter stage as I can control the colour better.
  • Egg wash – Crack one egg yolk and mixed with 3 teaspoons of water and 2 drops of oil, slightly beat and sift into a small box, use the brush to brush on top of the surface. The purpose is to let the buns looks shinny and golden brown.

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ROAST PORK OR BARBECUE PORK BUNS


Roast pork and Barbecue Pork Fillings

  • 1 big onion chopped finely (about I cup)
  • Abut 500 grams of roast pork/barbecue pork cut into cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oils
  • Other seasonings to taste

Note that this filling can be used either for roast pork (烧肉) or barbecue pork (蜜汁叉烧) 。

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  • On a big frying pan, put cooking oil and fried the big onion until the fragrance starts to permeate the house。 Add roast pork or barbecue pork, stir fry for 1-2 minutes.  Add oyster sauce, sugar, and other seasonings (such as salt, light soya sauce, dark soya sauce etc.) and follow by corn starch. Stir fry until well mix and resemble a sticky meat paste. Let it cool and set aside for later use.

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  • Take one portion of the dough, use the roller pin or hand to flatten the dough. Put 1-2 tablespoons of fillings on top of the dough.,wrap it and ensure that there are no holes that allow the fillings to leak out.

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  • If you have extra dough, you can just wrap some dough around the sausage and become sausage buns. Let it proof for another 30 minutes or when balls were almost double in size. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds if desired.

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  • Bake in the oven at 190 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes. Egg wash in between (please refer Kimchee buns above.)

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CONCLUSION

If you are not fancy of Kimchee buns, you can try to make the roast pork or barbecue pork buns. Kimchee buns are sour and spicy yet roast pork buns are both sweet and savoury. Depending on your taste buds, I am sure you can find one that is suits your family’s taste buds. If Kimchee buns and roast pork buns are  not your cups of tea, you can try some butter buns, polo buns or Mexican coffee buns by clicking on the links.

Hope you like the post today, cheers.

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For more recipes, you can refer to my RECIPE INDEX here and you can follow me at PINTEREST or visit this blog’s FACEBOOK PAGE.

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