Chinese Steamed Buns (Mantou)
Steamed buns is one of those foods I’ve loved as a kid, it was all thanks to my aunt showing me how to make really delicious tasting buns.
Click here to see recipe for whole wheat steamed buns.
(Yields: 6 buns , Serving: 3, Prep time: 3 hrs, Cook time: 20 mins)
- 2 1/2 cups and 5 tablespoons all purpose or bread flour
- A sprinkle of salt
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 cup water
Note: I used enriched unbleached flour but it’s much healthier to use corn flour or whole wheat flour, so feel free to substitute.
Mix the flour and salt into a large pot.
Mix room temperature water with yeast. Stir for a couple of minutes.
Mix the water with yeast into the flour mixture. Stir for about a minute.
Use your hands and knead it until it becomes a solid block.
The dough should not be sticky once it’s kneaded, nor should it be too hard. This is crucial in how the mantou turns out, so if you feel that it’s too wet, add a bit more flour and if it’s too dry, add a tiny bit more water.
Put a lid on the pot and leave it in a warm place for 2-3 hours so it can rise.
When the dough has risen twice it’s size, start kneading it again to make it smaller. Store a tiny piece away into a plastic bag to use next time.
Stretch the dough out so it becomes like this:
Then, use a knife and cut it in pieces.
Leave the mantou on a wooden board for 15 minutes for it to rise some more. (This step is crucial for fat and soft mantou!)
Get the steamer prepared by boiling water on it. I like to use a giant steamer so it doesn’t take too long.
Soak a cheese cloth in water.
Place it on the bottom of the steamer.
Put buns on the steamer. Make sure there’s a lot of space between them because they do rise more when cooked.
Once water starts to make noise (semi boiled), put the mantou on it.
Let it steam for about 15 minutes on high.
Turn heat off and let it sit for a further 3-5 minutes before removing the lid.