5.0/5 rating (2 votes)

Chinese Baked Bao Buns

Baked milk bread buns filled with Chinese BBQ pork

  • Heat Mild
  • Serves 4
  • Prep 3 hrs
  • Cook 25 mins
Chinese Baked Bao Buns

Soft, light, Chinese milk rolls that are filled with a sweet BBQ pork. In one word - spectacular!

Hari says

You might say these are a little off the track for me but in fact they are very similar the Indian Pav or Pau rolls. The buns are both a type of milk roll which makes them incredibly light and delicious.

Very similar to my Keema filled pav rolls these bao buns are something very special. These really emphasise sweetness of the BBQ sauce that gives them a special kind of uniqueness that you won't understand until you try them. The dough can get a bit sticky but you just have to work with it, use a little dusting on your fingers to help. 

Usually these are filled using Char Siu or Char Shao which is meat (usually pork) that has been marinated in a sweet BBQ sauce and is then roasted. I think it works just as well with left over pork from your Sunday roast too so give it a go. Super light, meaty, sweet and so moorish! Let me know what you think!

 

  • Ingredients
  • Method

Dough

  • 160ml cream
  • 235ml full-fat milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 75g sugar
  • 70g plain flour
  • 475g bread flour
  • 1 tbsp corn flour
  • 11g dry yeast
  • 1 tsp salt

Pork Filling

  • 30ml vegetable oil
  • 60g shallots, finely chopped
  • 25g granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 30ml oyster sauce
  • 1½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp dark soy sauce
  • 180ml chicken stock
  • 18g plain flour
  • 300g leftover roast pork (ideally Chinese roast pork or char siu), finely diced

Making the bao buns

  • egg wash (1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp milk)
  • 1tbsp sesame seeds 
  • 1tbsp kalonji seeds 
  • Sugar syrup (1 tbsp sugar dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water)

Method

Bao Dough

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, add the dough ingredients - cream, milk, and egg. Then add the sugar, plain flour, bread flour, corn flour, yeast, and salt.
  2. Turn the mixer on to the lowest setting to bring the dough together. When a scraggly dough has formed, knead on low speed for 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can stir all the dough ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a large mixing bowl, and then knead by hand for 20 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl, but should not stick to the sides.
  3. Shape the dough into a ball, and cover with an overturned plate or damp towel. Place in a warm spot to proof for 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.

BBQ Meat Filling

  1. Cut the pork into small cubes so it's easy to fill the dough.  
  2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok or a nice wide pan on a medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, and dark soy. Stir and cook until the mixture starts to bubble.
  4. Pour in the stock or water and add the flour - Mix everything together then turn the heat down and cook for a few minutes. The sauce will start to thicken.
  5. Add the diced roast pork and remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
  6. It's always a good idea to separate the filling into individual portions for each bun so you know you have enough. This will make about 15 buns. 

Making the bao buns

  1. Once the dough has proved the first time you will need to knock it back and knead it for another 5-6 minutes. 
  2. Weight out 15 equal portions of the dough.
  3. Roll one out to about 10cm in diameter. The trick is to try and keep the middle of the circle a bit thicker than the edges. I found it was easier to use my hands to do this bit. 
  4. Put 1 portion of filling into the center of the dough and then slowly and carefully pull the edges together to close the dough into a bun. Ensure your hands are clean as it can become difficult to seal it closed if you have got the filling on the outside and over your fingers (it takes a little practice. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  5. Put them seam side down on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and keep them separated.
  6. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise at room temperature for another hour.
  7. Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C and brush the buns with egg wash, and sprinkle them with a mixture of the kalonji and sesame seeds.
  8. Place the buns into the oven, and immediately turn down the temperature to 350°F/175°C.
  9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  10. As soon as you remove them from the oven brush with the sugar syrup. This will glaze them and give an incredible sweetness to the savoury buns. Let them cool before biting into one!

Served with

Perfect for a picnic or as a stater but even better as just a little snack!

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