For a more Softer Bao

Please see also detail description at my website. Chinese steam Bun

Since my last post in 2008 on making Chinese steam Bao, much have changed in the technique to create a more softer Bao. I remember in the old days there were many "pan tang" like you cannot speak cantonese else the dough would not rise.LOL. Perhaps we were not doing it scientifically and we did not understand the mechanics of it.

As with bread making, Asian preferred a softer bao that can stay soft and remained so even after many days. In the shops we still find that the bao(s) were sold "hot" inside a streamer so as it could stay soft all the time.

Since my discovery on the Gelatinized and Tangzhong method in bread making technique that could create a softer bread or buns even after cool down and still stayed soft for many days, I realised I could apply the same technique to our Chinese Bao making. This mean that the Bao that we made could now stayed and remained soft for many days even without the steamer.

Yesterday, I applied the Gelatinized method to making Bao. This was my 2nd time using this method and it was so easy. The yeast dough doubled in size very very fast.
Now Everyone can make Bao .


(A) Gelatinised dough

1/3 cup (40g- all purpose plain flour)
30ml hot boiling water
1. Place flour in a mixing bowl.
2. .Add hot boiling water and mix with wooden spoon to form a rough dough..
3. Cover bowl with cling film and leave dough to cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour

(B) Starter dough

1½ teaspoon active dry yeast * ( I used instant yeast see below)
1 teaspoon white sugar*
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup warm water

* If instant yeast is used, reduced the yeast by 20% and add extra tsp of sugar to avoid the yeast smell of over fermentation. (change to 1 tsp instant yeast Plus 1 tsp extra sugar)

(C) Main Dough
1 1/3 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/3 cup warm water


1. Mix together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.

2. Mix in starter yeast preparation in step1 in a mixing bowl. Add in 1/2 cup warm water, flour, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vegetable oil. Tear the gelatinized dough into pieces and add to the bowl . Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

3. Punch down dough, and spread out on a floured board and knead for 15-20 minutes.

4. Divide into 5-6 parts. Shape dough into balls. Put each ball on a wax paper square.

5. Roll each ball out into a circle, (like Won-Ton wrappers). Put 1 tablespoonful of prepared meat mixture in the center of each circle, and wrap dough around filling. Place seams down onto wax paper squares. Let stand until doubled, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

6. Bring water to a boil in wok, and reduce heat to medium; the water should still be boiling. Place steam-plate on a small wire rack in the middle of the wok. Transfer as many buns on wax paper as will comfortably fit onto steam-plate leaving 1 to 2 inches between the buns. At least 2 inches space should be left between steam-plate and the wok. Cover wok with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for 15 minutes.

REMOVE LID BEFORE you turn off heat, or else water will drip back onto bun surface and produce yellowish "blisters" on bun surfaces. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked


  1. Hi Shooyin, greetings from San Francisco again! I am thinking of trying this recipe. However, I have two questions: The 40g plain flour is actually Bread flour? and also at (C)Main Dough, sprinkle the baking powder on the surface of the dough, right? and also how much baking powder?..Oops that is a third question. I really want to try making these bao! Thank you so much. Leona

  2. Lenna, Sorry for the confusion, it is ordinary all purpose plain flour all the way. Sprinkle 1/2 or 1 tsp of baking powder is optional, only when the yeast don't rise the dough enough during very cold weather. I omit it most of the time now using this gelatinized method.

  3. my dough was extremely runny and i ended up adding a lot of flour. is this normal?

    1. Pei ling, no this is not add more flour if you find the dough is too runny or watery, adjust accordingly. I think there is a typing error in the main dough water..It should be 1/3 cup water instead of 1/2 cup water. Thanks for pointing it out..have amended. How is your Bao turn out?

  4. can sourdough starter substitute in place of yeast?
    If so at what hydration percentage and ratio