Asian food is fully established in Spain. It occupies a very clear position within the range of cuisines that we can find in bars and restaurants throughout our territory. Among its many dishes and preparations, one type of bread stands out , bao bread, gua bao for the Taiwanese, Chinese bread in China , xiao long bao in the Philippines…
The meaning of bao is to wrap , that’s why its shape. It is a delicate steamed bread in which multiple ingredients are wrapped . The original and traditional Taiwanese sandwich is made with braised bacon accompanied by pickles, coriander, Hoisin sauce and roasted and chopped peanuts. Taking this example as a starting point, the number of fills is infinite.
The ingredients necessary for its preparation are the same ones that we use in the mantou or Chinese steamed buns , although the difference between the two, apart from its shape. Mantou is a bun that accompanies other dishes, it is also eaten alone or with tea, and pan bao is a stuffed sandwich or as a snack.
Contrary to what it may seem, preparing gua bao at home is simple. They are made from loose flour, never force. They are kneaded simply and quickly and, after fermentation, they are shaped like a tongue to finish folding them on itself. Its main difference with other types of bread is that it is steamed . Do you dare to prepare it at home?
- 500g weak wheat flour (7 – 9% protein) flour 0000
- 20g fresh baker’s yeast or 7 freeze-dried, instant dry baker’s yeast
- 10 g. sal
- 6g sugar
- 180g water + 6 tbsp.
- 20g sunflower oil
- 20 g. vinagre
- 12 pieces of parchment paper (9×8 cm)
- A brush and a roller
- A steamer
How to Make Bao Bread Dough
- Dilute the yeast in 3 tablespoons of warm water. We booked.
- In a bowl add the flour, salt, sugar, oil and vinegar. With a fork we begin to mix.
- Add the dissolved yeast and warm water. We begin to integrate the dough with a fork. When we can work it, we pass to the hands.
- Knead for a few minutes, until we have a dough that does not stick to the fingers. We form a ball with the dough and leave it in a bowl, covered with cling film, in a warm place for 2 hours. In this process the dough will ferment.
- After this time, remove the dough from the bowl and turn it out onto a floured surface. Work the dough for 1 minute and divide it into portions. This amount of dough spreads for 6 loaves of about 70 grams.
- We form small balls with the portions of bread and, with a rolling pin, stretch each ball giving it an oval shape. Place a piece of parchment paper in the middle of the oval and fold the dough over on itself. The paper prevents the two folded parts from sticking together.
Resting and Steaming of Bao Bread
- Let the loaves rest for 30 minutes before proceeding to bake. Put a saucepan with enough water on the fire. When it boils, place a steamer on top so that it is never in contact with the water, only with the steam that is going to be generated.
- Place the loaves in the steamer and steam for 10 minutes.
- Remove the steamer from the pan being careful not to burn yourself and wait another 5 minutes before opening it. It is important so that our bao bread does not deflate
- We serve the freshly made breads, filling them with our favorite mixture.
- It is a bread with a mild and slightly sweet flavor that will stick slightly to the palate, in which the filling occupies a special role.
You can see all the step-by-step photos of the homemade pan bao recipe in this album. Do not miss any detail and they will be perfect.
Tips for a Perfect Bread Bao
- We must have a steamer, either in the traditional style, those made of bamboo, or the most modern ones that we can get as part of our kitchenware.
- They are steamed in boiling water for a few minutes in a simple and quick way. If you don’t have a bamboo steamer, you can use any other utensil as long as the cooking is done by steaming.
- If you make more quantity (you can double the ingredients without problem) then here you have ingredients for a meal, 12 units (2 per person for a dinner), and you have leftovers, you can reheat them in the steamer for a minute before using it. You can also put them in a grilled pan with a little oil, back and forth nothing else.
- If what you want is to make the bao bread well in advance, once cold you can put them in airtight freezer bags and freeze them, no more than 3 months.
- To heat the frozen buns you just have to put them in the steamer for about 2 or 3 minutes or let them defrost and grill them as I said before.
- With this simple recipe for bao bread you will be able to make these fashionable snacks in all Asian and fusion restaurants. Now you choose the filling, on our blog we leave you some ideas, although the most common is to do it with pancetta, bacon or roast pork. I have tried them with oxtail or beef with spring onion and Hoisin sauce, simply delicious.