How would I describe a Bao bun to you if you’ve never had one? I’d say that it’s light, fluffy, pillowy, a little moist and highly pleasurable to eat! It also doesn’t hurt that Bao buns are best paired with fatty meats and sweet and spicy flavours, such as sweet and crispy-skinned Peking duck, pork belly or fried chicken. MMMMM…. Are you drooling yet?
For a quick and easy version, I used the, skin-on, brown leg and thigh meat, from a rotisserie chicken and ohhh boy was it delicious! That goes to show that making Bao buns doesn’t have to be complicated! Also, the Superbowl is around the corner, this could be a fun little appetizer to serve!
The day I made them, I proudly showed them off to my husband like I was a model on the Price is Right. “Made the dough from scratch! They’re heavenly pillows of deliciousness just waiting to be filled with a number of sinful fillings….” He opened his eyes wide and said, “Wow! These look GREAT but… they have to pass my test!” “Ah”, I said knowingly, “the cheese sandwich test”. “YUP! If it tastes good warm with cheese in it, then it’s a good bun” I nodded in agreement but I was actually thinking that you can melt cheese over any surface he’d eat it so I guess these buns will win his approval. Now that I think of it, these buns are so delicious you can fill them with any substance and, they’d still be great. lol
BTW, they passed the cheese sandwich test 😉
So this recipe is easier than it might seem. Making dough from scratch does seem like a challenge but I was surprised how easily this came together! If you’ve made pizza dough, it’s easier to work with than that. Go for it! You’ll be super proud, and you too will prance around proudly like a Price is Right model.
Follow me on Instagram, Vanilla_Bean_Montreal, for my latest recipe try outs, step by steps and a few old favorites! Also be sure to check out my Bao Bun highlight, where is show how to make these step by step!
Bao Buns at Home
Easy to make from scratch, these fluffy steamed buns are irresistibly delicious! For a quick and easy meal, fill them with the dark meat from a rotisserie chicken , skin-on for best flavour, add some hoisin sauce, your favorite condiments and a little spice and thats it! They're a real crowd pleaser!
Take a pretty large piece of parchment paper and cut out 14 - 3X3 inch squares. Set aside.
*These are needed otherwise your buns will stick to your steamer and it'll be a freakin' disaster!
Place the dry ingredients, in the order listed into the bowl of a mixer (fitted with the dough hook attachment). Be sure to keep the salt and sugar away from the yeast within the bowl up until it's time to mix with the wet ingredients.
Note: Salt and yeast really don't like each other. Salt can kill yeast in fact. Also at times, too much sugar can kill yeast too! Not many people know that 😉
Add warm water and oil to the dry ingredients and mix on the lowest setting until a cohesive ball is formed.
Increase the speed a little and allow to knead for approximately 6 minutes.
When you touch your ball of dough, if it is very sticky, add a little flour. Although mine was just right at that point, neither too sticky nor too dry.
Form into a smooth ball and place into an oiled bowl. Cover bowl with slightly damp dishtowels (I like a nice heavy cover) and allow to rest for 1.5 hours in a warm place. I usually place it in my oven which is off.
Once the 1.5 to 2 hours are up, the dough should have doubled in size.
Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and punch down the dough to remove any air bubbles.
Using a floured rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 1 cm thickness. Roll from the middle out. If the dough keeps pulling back, let it rest periodically until it keeps it's shape.
I got a 12 inch diameter circle, about 1 cm thick.
Drizzle some oil over the top of your dough and spread with your hand to coat evenly. (This makes the surface smoother and will prevent the Bao buns from sticking to themselves when folded.
Using a 3 inch diameter cookie cutter (or glass), cut circles into the dough. The leftover dough can be kneaded briefly and rolled out to cut out more buns. They'll turn out just as good.
Now fold your first Bao bun circle in half (oiled side on the inside), and GENTLY roll over the folded bun with your rolling pin to secure the crease. Place onto a parchment square and set aside. Repeat for each bun.
Place buns on a cookie sheet and cover with the same damp dish cloth for 30 minutes. They will puff up slightly.
Place a couple of inches of water in the basin of your steaming pot. When water is boiling place buns on their parchment into the steaming basket and place over the pot of boiling water. Cover and steam for 12 minutes.
If serving the same day, simply keep them in the steamer with the lid on. If making them ahead, allow to cool completely and wrap tightly in plastic wrap (with parchment squares in between each bun). Steam them briefly to return them to their fluffy state.
Fill your Bao bun with sweeter and fattier meats. I used the brown meat from a skin-on rotisserie chicken! It was great. You can also use slow roasted pork belly, Peking duck, fried chicken and even pulled pork.
Spoon a little hoisin sauce into the bun, insert the meat of your choice and garnish with a drizzle of Siracha, more hoisin, green onion, cucumber and/or Asian style pickled vegetables or straight up pickles 😀
Please note that the original recipe from Marion's Kitchen was posted in grams so I included conversions to cups , tsp, tbsp etc... That's why you'll see things like ' just shy of 2tsp' lol.
If you have questions, leave them in the comments!