Time: 45 minutes + 4 hours proving
525g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1½ tbsp caster sugar, plus a pinch
½ tsp salt
1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
1 tbsp sunflower oil , plus extra for greasing and brushing
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp baking powder
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We made these bao buns to go with some char sui (bbq pork) we had cooked in the slow cooker. They take a bit of time, mainly because having to leave them to rise twice, but I think they’re worth the effort. As well as the pork, we served them with some pickled carrot which added a tasty crunch. The recipe makes a lot, but extra buns, once steamed, can be frozen.You can make the dough by hand or using a mixer with a dough hook. There’s still plenty for your little one to help with even if you don’t do all the kneading by hand.
Mix the ingredients together
Measure the flour, sugar and salt into your mixer.*
Dissolve the yeast and a pinch of salt in a tbsp of warm water, then add it to the flour with the milk, oil, vinegar and the water.
* If you’re not using a mixer, mix everything together in a bowl before kneading on a floured work surface for 10-15 minutes or until it’s smooth.
Make the dough
Use the dough hook on a medium setting for around 5 minutes until the dough has come together in a nice smooth ball. Add a splash more water if you need to.
Place in an oiled bowl, cover then set aside in a warm place for 2 hours until doubled in size.
Make the bao buns
Line a few baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Tip the dough out onto a clean work surface and get your child to punch it down (to get the air out). Flatten it with your hands then sprinkle over the baking powder. Knead with your hands for 5 minutes.
Roll out the dough into a long sausage about 3cm thick. Cut into pieces about 3cm wide (you should end up with about 18).
Get your child to help you roll each piece of dough into a ball and leave to rest for a few minutes.
Together, use a rolling pin to roll each ball into an oval shape about 3-4mm thick. Brush the top with a little oil, and brush a little extra oil over a chopstick.
Place the chopstick on to the middle of the bun, fold it in half then pull out the chopstick.
Place on your baking tray. Hannah enjoyed helping with this bit the most which meant I could roll them out while she was busy doing this.
Once all your buns are done, cover each baking tray with lightly oiled cling film or a tea towel then leave to prove in a warm place for about an hour and a half or until doubled in size.
Steam the bao buns
Steam the buns for 8 minutes or so until they have puffed up. We tried a few in our bamboo steamer but to save having to do loads of batches we got the electric steamer out and managed most of them at the same time.