Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao)  – Food Wishes

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns (Char Siu Bao) – Food Wishes

July 31, 2019 100 By William Morgan

hello this is chef john from food wishes
comm with steamed BBQ pork buns
that’s right believe it or not this is
what they come out looking like if you
don’t know what you’re doing which is
surprisingly similar to what they look
like if you did so yes my love for
steamed pork buns far exceeds my skills
in making them but that’s basically the
point I’m making is in experienced as I
am and as questionable as my techniques
are I still achieve some fairly
beautiful buns or bow as our Chinese
friends would call them so with that
let’s go ahead and get started with what
is a very very simple dough and as usual
that’ll begin with some warm but not too
hot water into which I’m going to
sprinkle some dry active east and then
what we usually like to do is let our
yeast get about a ten-minute head start
before we add the rest of the
ingredients plus it also gives us a
chance to check to make sure our yeast
is not dead which I’m happy to report
mine wasn’t and what we’ll do after
about 10 minutes is go ahead and add the
rest of the ingredients including a
little bit of vegetable oil a little
touch of white sugar and a whole bunch
of self-rising flour which as you may
know is nothing more than regular flour
that has salt and baking powder milled
into it and as usual if you do want to
use all-purpose flour I will tell you
how to make it into self-rising flour in
the block-post
and then what we’ll do is grab a wooden
spoon and give this a mix until it comes
together to form a shaggy dough oh yeah
you heard me a shaggy dough which is
just like a regular dough except much
much heavier and basically looks
something like this which does not look
good yet but that’s fine because what
we’ll do once it gets to this stage just
go ahead and transfer it onto our work
surface and we’ll sort of push and press
and squeeze it together until it finally
comes together into a ball at which
point we’re gonna knead it until it’s
nice and smooth and as you know if it
seems a little bit wet just sprinkle
over a little more flour and if it seems
a little dry you could add a little bit
of water but it’s much much harder
adding water than adding flour which is
why we always try to err on the side of
having a little too wet of a dough then
to drive a dough speaking of which
unlike most of our pizza dough and bread
dough recipes this one is not gonna be
very sticky okay we still wanted a soft
and smooth but we don’t want this too
wet and sticky so I basically needed
mine for about 10 minutes or so until I
ended up with something that looked and
like this which felt really good and
what would do one sourdoughs needed has
transferred into a lightly oiled bowl
and we’ll flip that around to lightly
coat it in which part we’re gonna cover
this and let it rise in a warm spot for
about two hours or until doubled and
while we’re waiting for that we can do a
couple things for example make our
barbecued pork filling and while I
didn’t happen to have any Chinese
barbecue pork on hand I did have a few
leftover ribs it’s a pulled pork which
I’m simply gonna remove from the bone
and go ahead and chop up before these
buns I wanted to keep my streak going of
never having used the same filling twice
and I’ll also go into this in the blog
post and give you some links to some
real filling recipes but this is what I
went with this time and it really is a
great technique to use up some leftover
meat so I went ahead and chop that up
and added it to a bowl along with some
fairly finely sliced green onions also
known as scallions and then the only
other things I’m putting in this very
simple filling would be some cayenne
pepper some sesame oil and enough hoisin
to make this as saucy as you want and
you’ll sometimes hear people refer to
hoisin as Chinese barbecue sauce which
I’m not sure is that accurate but it
does have some similar elements
including some sweetness but I should
mention that too traditional filling for
these things is quite a bit sweeter at
least the ones I’ve had in San Francisco
so at least this time I’m doing more of
a savory approach but anyway we’ll go
ahead and mix that up and once it’s
looking and tasting just like we want
we’ll go ahead and transfer that into
the fridge and move on to set up our
bamboo steamer or other steamer of your
choice now first up we’re gonna have to
add a couple inches of water to whatever
pot we’re gonna set our steamer over
which in my case is a Dutch oven but you
can also use a skillet or a frying pan
and if you don’t have a steamer there
are tons of hacks online to show you how
to steam without one but these things
are relatively inexpensive and easy to
find and I do recommend picking one up
especially if you get addicted to these
but anyway once that set up we’ll go
back and check our dough which hopefully
by now has doubled in size which means
we’ll give it the old poka poka to
deflate it and we’ll proceed to transfer
that onto a lightly floured surface or
I’m going to press it down before
dividing it into two pieces and I’m
actually going to save half for a wild
and crazy experiment
well actually not that crazy I just
wanted to see how the dough would steam
the next day and then with the half I’m
using I’m gonna kind of roll that up
into a tube like shape so that
eventually and hopefully I can cut six
relatively even pieces and of course as
I finished I realize just cutting that
flat piece of dough would probably been
easier but on the other hand this dough
does feel really good but anyway somehow
someway we’ll divide that dough into six
equal pieces and then we’ll take each
piece and sort of rub it against the
surface to form a back into a ball and
then eventually press it out into a disc
and then once that set we will roll each
disc out to about an eighth of an inch
thick and maybe about four to five
inches in diameter and then one of the
few tips I know about making these is
once that’s rolled out you want to go
around the outside pressing that edge a
little bit thinner than the center which
you can do very awkwardly with the
rolling pin like I am and by the way
traditionally they use a much thinner
rolling pin it’s more like a wooden
dowel or if you I can just go around
with your fingers press it in stretching
and then what we’ll do once at set is
transfer in a spoonful of our filling
and try to be careful not to touch it
with your fingers otherwise you’re gonna
stain your dough and then the closes
there’s a great technique for forming
little pleats all the way around which
I’ve never mastered oh I’ll try at the
beginning but then I quickly give up and
just our randomly pinching and pleating
it anywhere and by the way I think one
little issue I had here was the dough
was a little bit dry so if you need to
don’t be afraid to moisten the edge of
that dough with a little bit of water
and then once I was done pinching in a
pleating I went around trying to get
those all folded over in the same
direction which was only moderately
successful and right about here is when
I generally forget about technique and
just sort of squeeze in pinch and twist
everything so it seals at the top and
yet is horribly unprofessional as that
pleating is as you’ll see once these are
steamed it actually looks pretty good so
please try to relax because you really
only need to do it as bad as I did
and then once form will go ahead and
transfer these onto a little square or
parchment paper we’ve cut out and that’s
just so they don’t stick to the steamer
and theoretically as you do these each
one will get a little better although
not for me my second one looked pretty
much exactly the same but hey at least I
got sauce on the dough
and then what we’ll do once these are
prepped is go ahead and transfer them
into our cold steamer
all right don’t turn it on yet because
what we’re gonna do is cover these and
proof them for about a half hour to 45
minutes before we do the actual steaming
step in roughly 35 minutes later mine
looked a little something like this
and while these probably won’t double in
size they should puff up noticeably oh
and I should mention I can fit six in
here but I’m just doing three since it’s
always way easier to film fewer things
and then what we’ll do to finish these
off is go ahead and cover them back up
and we’ll turn our heat on high and
we’re gonna steam these for exactly ten
minutes but we do not start the timer
until we can hear our water boiling and
we can see steam coming out through the
top and then once that happens we’ll go
ahead and set our timer for 10 minutes
and do not under any circumstances peak
and not only don’t we get to peak while
it’s steaming we don’t even get to peak
after they’re steamed because what we’re
gonna do as soon as our timer rings is
turn off the heat and then do absolutely
nothing for 15 minutes all right do not
under any circumstances take off the lid
and the reason is that rapid change in
temperature will cause our dough to
collapse and instead of getting a
beautiful smooth glossy surface they
will actually form all kinds of dimples
and dents and not look as good so
somehow someway we will wait 15 minutes
at which point we can uncover them so
that we may gaze upon the aforementioned
beautiful perfectly smooth surface and
come on I don’t want to brag but by
looking at these you would have no idea
I had no idea what I was doing so again
please don’t stress out too much when
you’re forming these as long as that
dough at the top gets pinched together
somehow these are gonna look great and I
should mention if you’re wondering why
these aren’t snowy white like the ones
from the takeout place that’s because to
achieve that you have to use a very
special Chinese dumpling flower which I
never bother buying but if you did want
these to be snowy white you could go out
and find some all right that’s up to you
and you guys are for all the chairman
mao’s of your barbecued pork boughs but
personally I don’t mind the off-white
I’m kind of off-white but anyway the
point is they look fine so let me go
ahead and grab one and pull out the
paper so I can bite into make sure they
taste fine and fine they did taste okay
my filling was good
not great but good I felt like I needed
more sauce and possibly a little more
sweetness but anyway the fillings gonna
be up to you the real video here is for
the technique and the dough which was
absolutely perfect well not too
technique but the dough okay was nice
and soft and tender so I really was
thrilled with the texture of that and I
tend to use a pretty thin layer of the
all right the quote-unquote authentic
ones I get here in San Francisco
probably have about twice as thick a
layer of dough so it is a little more
bready with a little less filling but
anyway that’s it my take on steam BBQ
pork buns like I said I’ll share a few
links in the post in case you want to
make the real filling but if you do
happen to have some leftover grilled or
barbecued meat this really was a
delicious and pretty fun way to use it
up which is why I really do hope you
give this a try soon so head over to
food wishes dot-com for all the
ingredient amounts of more info as usual
and as always enjoy