Updated: Oct 4, 2020
Ok, so it may not be the prettiest of pictures, but once you try this sweet bread you will find all sorts of lovely ways to use it. As you probably have seen on my Instagram its the Lunar new Year this weekend so I could see no other staple to introduce than this. I made a traditional Chinese Dim-Sum Char Siu Bao with it, which is Sweet Bread filled with Chinese Roast Sticky Pork, other traditional fillings include Lotus Seed Paste (I highly recommend if you have a sweet tooth) Egg custard and Red Bean Paste but you could add any filling you like, vegetables, fish, or even just have them on their own, in little twists or rolls. Just add a teaspoon of two onto a rolled out piece of dough pinching all the edges together and turning over.
What makes sweet bread so amazing. Well its twice risen, first with traditional Yeast and then with Baking Powder which is kneaded into the dough at the last minute. The Bread is then steamed on a piece of greaseproof paper until fluffy (around 15 mins fresh or 25mins from frozen). It is super easy to make, I hope you have a try and this staple of mine becomes well loved by you and your family.
400g all purpose plain flour
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
3 Tablespoons White sugar
250ml Warm Water
1 1/2 teaspoons Dried Active Yeast.
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
Greaseproof Paper cut into 5cm squares
Makes 24 small buns, or 12 Larger Buns
1. Mix the warm water, sugar and yeast together, leave for ten minutes until frothy.
2. Sieve the flour into a bowl, make a well in the centre and add the oil.
3. Pour in the water, sugar and yeast mixture and mix together with a knife until the dough comes together.
4. Once it comes together turn out on a lightly floured surface and knead for a good ten minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If its sticky add a little more flour and knead it in.
5. Lightly grease a bowl with oil , put the dough in covering all sides in the oil, cover with a damp cloth and leave to rise until double in size.
6. Once doubled knock the dough back a five times.
IF YOU ARE NOT USING THE DOUGH RIGHT AWAY, WRAP WELL AND PLACE IN THE FRIDGE ONLY DOING THE NEXT STEP WHEN YOU ARE READY TO STEAM THEM. IF FREEZING, FOLLOW UNTIL POINT OF STEAMING BUT COOL AND FREEZE INSTEAD.
7. Make a dent in the dough with your hand, put the Baking Powder in.
8. Fold it in and slowly knead the dough for another ten mins or so until the baking powder is worked through. (Note this seems a scary stage if you have not worked in this way before, the baking powder can make the dough seem like it is splitting into sheets of paper at some points, but keep kneading and it will move past this stage and return to a smooth dough again.
9.Split the dough into 12 or 24 pieces, If you are filling them, roll them out, place a teaspoon (for small ones) or two teaspoons (for larger ones) of filling in the middle then bring up the edges and squash closed. If you want to see the filling when cooked bring ‘4 corners’ together and seal, leaving four gaps. If you are making rolls make whichever shape you like.
10. Place each on a baking paper square and place in a steamer with a couple of centimetres between each one.
11. Steam for 15 mins (or until risen and contents piping hot) for fresh or around an extra 10 minutes from frozen and enjoy!