Ever since going to Dumpling Time, I was inspired to find out how to make baos (or siopao in the Philippines). Their steamed dumpling is the softest I've ever had. So I googled how to make super soft baos but did not find a straight forward answer. Maybe I'm the only one who's not satisfied with what I've made in the past? If anyone has seen a focused article about bao softness, please let me know! This is the other reason why I thought about posting about this. Most people are saying that the flour must be low protein, since gluten in the dough causes it to be elastic or something like that. In the end, I was able to make a recipe that I'm satisfied with.
First, I tried to find a low protein flour (or dumpling flour). I found this Vietnamese dumpling flour mix and modified the recipe. It's nice because it comes with yeast and already has baking powder in the mix. I found that most recipes used milk, oil and baking soda. So I added these to my recipe 😁
- 1 package of bao mix (400 g) (ignore the package instructions)
- 220 g of warm milk
- 30 grams vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking soda
Take the yeast package out and mix it with the milk. After 5 mins, add it to the flour along with the rest of the ingredients. Put in a stand mixer fitted with a dough attachment and knead on low speed for 7 mins. The dough will feel very sticky at this point and not tough. Cover dough in plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 2 hrs somewhere warm. I placed it on top of our stove while I was slow cooking the pork filling.
- pork shoulder cubes 1 lb
- 1 tbsp veg oil
- Chinese five spice 1 tsp
- few slices of ginger
- 2 garlic cloves smashed
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
Brown the pork in veg oil, add the rest of the ingredients and put in a 325 degrees F oven and bake for 1.5 hrs. Shred the pork using forks. Remove and set aside any of the braising liquid to prevent the bao from becoming soggy from too much sauce. Let the filling cool down.
I prepare the steamer so that it's ready by the time I assembled the bao. After letting the dough rise, I floured it to keep it from sticking everywhere and divided it into 8 equal sized balls. I flattened the ball into a disk and filled them with the cooled pork filling, about 2 tbsp, and close it up into a ball. I put them on a square parchment paper to keep them from sticking to the steamer. Steam them for 20 mins. Serve with the reserved sauce.
I think the secret is having all the leavening agents in the recipe: yeast, baking soda and baking powder. Also, allowing the dough to rise for as long as it takes seem to also be important. I hope this article was helpful to someone out there. Peace out!