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Bao Buns

Bao buns are easier to make than you think! So here's my recipe for them. I'd recommend serving them with some char siu pork belly and pickled carrots & cucumber.

Makes 8

Hands-on Time 20 minutes

Proving Time +1 hour

Steaming Time 10 minutes


250g Plain flour

50g Rice flour

1 sachet or 2 1/2 tsp Fast-action yeast

50g Caster sugar

Salt, pinch

1 1/2 tsp Baking powder

180ml Full-fat milk

2 tbsp plus extra for greasing Oil (flavourless e.g. sunflower or vegetable)

Kettle of water


Mixing bowl


Tea towel

Baking parchment



Rolling pin

Pastry brush

Saucepan and steaming basket

Add the flours to the mixing bowl followed by the yeast on one side and the sugar, salt, and baking powder on the other.

Pour the milk and 2 tablespoons of oil over the dry ingredients and combine using the spatula.

Tip out onto a clean surface and knead for 10 minutes until you have a smooth dough.

Clean the mixing bowl and lightly grease with oil.

Return the dough to the bowl and cover with a tea towel.

Leave to prove for at least an hour until doubled in size.

Cut a couple of circles of baking parchment to line the steaming baskets. If you have a bamboo steaming basket it’s likely you will only be able to steam two at a time, so keep this in mind. Fold the circles in half, and then quarters, and then eighths. Cut a few small triangles out along the folds like you are making paper snowflakes. This will help you when steaming.

Take a couple of strips of baking parchment, about 6cm wide and cut them into rectangles. You will need 8.

When the dough has proved tip it out onto the worktop.

Using a knife divide the dough into 8.

Roll each portion into a ball.

Take one ball and roll it out with a rolling pin. You are looking to make an oval so there is no need to rotate the dough. Do lift it now and then to make sure it doesn’t stick to the worktop.

Brush the dough with a little oil. Place one of the parchment rectangles on the bottom half of the dough and fold the top half over. Place onto one of the steamer liners you have prepared.

Repeat with the other 7 pieces of dough. Leave these to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Pop the kettle of water on to boil.

Place the saucepan over a medium heat and add the boiled water. You want it to keep at a simmer.

Lift/slide one set of buns into the steamer using the parchment. Place the basket onto the saucepan and cover. Leave these to cook for 10 minutes.

When the time is up carefully remove the basket and lift out the buns, again using the parchment. Leave them to cool on a clean piece of parchment whilst you cook any remaining buns.



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