Cooking with Alison

Baked Chinese BBQ Pork Bun

In Baked Bread on May 10, 2010 at pm

Baked Chinese BBQ pork buns (char siu bao) are sold in all Asian bakeries.  These were the first Chinese baked breads that I ever tried making from scratch.  They are very easy to make.  For the steamed BBQ pork buns that you get at dim sum, see here.

Baked Chinese BBQ Pork Bun Recipe

makes 6 buns; adapted from Christine’s Recipes

for the buns:

8 grams active dry yeast

2 tablespoons granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/3 cup warm milk

1/2 cup hot water (Note: Water should be as hot as you can get from your tap, but not boiling)

2 cups all purpose flour

for the glaze:  syrup made from 1 teaspoon granulated white sugar + 2 teaspoons water

for the filling:

200 grams BBQ pork (char siu), cut into small cubes

(Note:  You can buy Chinese bbq pork or you can make it at home.  I buy pork side or pork shoulder, I brush it generously with store bought char siu sauce and then I bake it in a 375 F oven until cooked through but not overcooked (approximately 15 to 25 minutes).

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 a medium sized onion, diced

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce

2 teaspoons granulated white sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

4 tablespoons water

a dash of sesame oil

for the buns:

In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the hot water (water should be hot, not boiling).  Once the sugar has dissolved, add the warm milk and oil and mix well.  Add the yeast and give it a few stirs.  Allow it to rest at room temperature (away from drafts) until it becomes foamy, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the filling as per the directions below.

Sift the flour into a large bowl.  Mix in the yeast mixture.  On a large silpat (silicone) mat, knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your hands.  Then cover with a slightly moist cotton towel and let it rest for 25 minutes.  After resting your dough for 25 minutes, it will have more than doubled in size.  Note:  If it hasn’t doubled, then start again because it means that your yeast wasn’t properly activated.

Preheat the oven to 400 F.  Divide the dough into 6 equally sized pieces.  Cover them with the slightly moist cotton towel.  Working with one piece at a time, gently roll it into a loose ball.  Gently flatten it between the palms of your hands and place 1/6th of the filling into the centre of your round piece of dough.  Forming the dough around the filling, almost like the shape of a cup, bring opposite sides of the dough together and pinch the dough to close the opening and to conceal the filling.  Gently roll the sealed dough back into a ball shape and place on a silpat (silicone) mat lined baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough pieces.  Bake the buns for 18 to 20 minutes.  As soon as the buns are done, brush the tops with syrup and let cool slightly before serving.  These can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

for the filling:

In a small bowl, combine the following ingredients for the filling: soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, cornstarch, water and sesame oil.  In a wok heated over medium  heat, add the oil.  Once the oil is hot, add the onion and stir fry until they soften, about 1 minute.  Then add the BBQ pork and give it a few quick stirs.  Add the sauce that you have set aside in a small bowl.  Once it boils, lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until you achieve a thickened sauce that is your preferred consistency.  Dish out and cool.  Once it cools to room temperature, chill it in the refrigerator.

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