Basic Chinese Steamed Buns using instant yeast, making 12 mini buns.
300 g all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp. more for dusting
1 and 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar ,optional
150 g water or 20ml more if needed
a tiny pinch of salt ,around 1.5% of the dough
Prepare warm water around 35 °C and melt the sugar in. And mix the yeast with the water. Mix well and set aside for around 5 minutes. If you do not want sugar, just skip it.
Place salt and flour in a large bowl. Pour the water with yeast slowly to the bowl with flour and stir with a chopstick.
Then knead the flour into smooth and soft dough. At the very beginning, it might be a little bit sticky. Or you can simple resort to a stand mixer.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest for around 1 hour or until the paste ball doubles in size.
When the dough is double in size, get paste ball out, dust the operating board and re-knead the dough for 3-4 minutes until the dough becomes almost smooth again. Divide the dough into two parts, keep kneading and shape each part into 1 inch thick long log.
Remove the two ends and use a very sharp knife to cut the log to smaller pieces (around 2 cm wide). Try to keep the original shape. Place the buns to a lined steamer one by one. Leave some space among each one as the buns rise after steaming.
Add cold water to your wok or steel steamer. Cover the lid and rest for 10 minutes in summer and around 20 minutes in winter or until the bun becomes fluffy again.
Use high fire to bring the water to a boil and continue to steam for around 20 to 25 minutes (depending on the size of your buns).
Remove off the fire and wait for around 5 minutes before opening the lid. Serve warm or re-steam to soften before serving.
- There are two types of yeast usually used to make steamed buns: instant yeast and dry yeast. If you are using dry yeast, activate them by placing them in warm water (around 35 degree C) before mixing with the dough. And you should avoid adding instant yeast near sugar and salt.
- In order to get a smooth mantou, the dough should be well kneaded in both stages. After the second kneading, there should be no large bubbles in cross section of your dough. Please keep dusting your operation board during the second kneading stage, it not only help to avoid sticky dough but also fill up any small holes brought by the first proofing. So we can have smooth steamed buns.
- Sugar is optional. You can barely taste sweetness in the well-steamed buns but sugar help to form better gluten.
- If the dough is sticky and hard to control, dust your board and hands.
- For second rising mantou, the steaming process should start with cold water.
- If you want to add milk to improve your steamed buns, use 180g milk for 300g all purpose flour.
- Adding 1.5 to 2% of the flour weight can tighten the gluten network and improves the volume of the finished buns.