Bao Buns

Bao Buns


For the yeast

  • 1 tbsp dry yeast
  • 1.5 cups of water at 105F
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp all purpose, bread or pizza flour

Dry ingredients

  • 4.5 cups bread or pizza flour
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp nonfat dry milk
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of fat of your choice: butter, pork, chicken, duck, even vegetable shortening, at room temperature


  1. Bring the water to 105 F and place in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Add the tbsp of yeast, sugar and flour.
  3. Mix a little bit with the dough hook and let stand for 5 or 10 minutes until the mixture becomes bubbly.
  4. In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients.
  5. Mix into the yeast and water mixture and start kneading at low speed until the dough forms into a ball.
  6. Mix for 10 minutes or so. The dough will become shiny and elastic, not too tacky.
  7. Transfer to a well oiled large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm area of the kitchen and allow to rise until double in volume, about 1 hour or so.
    This dough will weigh approximately 1100 grams.
  8. Divide into 50 or so equal portions about 24 grams each.
  9. Form each into a ball using your hands by pressing while moving your hands in a circular motion.
  10. Place in several sheet pans and cover loosely.
  11. Cut some parchment paper sheets into a 3×4 inch rectangle.
  12. Allow these to rest for 15 minutes.
  13. Roll each ball, one by one, into an oval shape, using a rolling pin.
  14. Using a pastry brush paint the top surface, and using a chopstick to guide you fold the bun in half. Remove the chopstick.
  15. Place each formed bun on an individual parchment paper rectangle. Place on a sheet tray and cover loosely. Allow to rest for about 30 minutes.
  16. Meanwhile prepare a bamboo steamer on top of a large pot half filled with water and bring the water to a boil.
  17. Place the buns inside the bamboo steamer, working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the buns.
    Cook for 9 to 10 minutes until full set.
  18. Allow to cool until ready to use.
  19. If using right away, just before serving reheat the buns in a steamer for 1 minute or so.
    If you are saving them for later, place, well covered, in the freezer and re-steam just before serving without letting the buns thaw.
We can’t escape the Asian influence here in Los Angeles. Ingredients and techniques fuse and evolve to make something different, and sometimes very interesting. Popularized perhaps and brought to the modern kitchen by David Chang at Momofuku, these fluffy pockets of goodness deliver a perfect vehicle to let your imagination run wild and invite you to be creative.