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As it turns out, ingredient lists are uncopyrightable, so I’ll try to post more of them when I write about our cooking adventures. (I’ve come quite a long way from the beginnings of Cook or Die!) Recipe steps might be copyrighted, particularly those that are creatively expressed, but that should be no problem – I’ll just write my own instructions.
So here are the buns that have just come out of our oven. (Yes, another set of buns. The ones I made just two days ago have vanished. There must be a bun-monster somewhere in the basement…)
After the success of this weekend’s coconut cocktail buns (gai mei bao), W- and J- suggested hotdog bao, Nutella bao, and some more coconut bao to use up the extra filling we had. Result:
You will need a kitchen scale. This is actually good, because volume measurements of flour and other things can vary widely.
Gai Mei Bao – Chinese Cocktail Buns and flexible bun dough recipe
Adapted from David Ko’s Yung Sing Dim Sum Recipes (A Chinese Snackbook):
David Ko uses this recipe for practically all the buns in his book. It’s a white, slightly sweet bread.
- 12g active dry yeast
- 495ml warm water
- Dissolve yeast in water.
- 340g sifted all-purpose flour
- In a large mixing bowl, pour yeast solution into flour. The original recipe says to knead the result for 5 minutes, but this paste results in more of a liquid mix, so just mix it until it’s smooth.
- Leave in a warm place for 2 hours. Or if you’re like us and baking season (winter) doesn’t leave you with an abundance of warm spots in the house, set the oven to 150’F for thirty seconds, then turn the oven off. Put the yeast mix into the oven and wait until it doubles in volume (around one hour).
- 60ml warm water
- 1 egg
- 225g cake and pastry flour (sifted)
- 560g all-purpose flour (sifted)
- 110g sugar
- 18g salt
- 125ml milk
- 3g lard
- 3g butter
- Mix all of the above with the yeast mix in a large mixing bowl. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour as necessary. Cover with a damp cloth (or cling wrap and a damp cloth; keeps your tea towels cleaner) and leave in a warm place for 2 hours, or until doubled in volume. You can use the oven trick here, too.
- 175g coconut flakes
- 168g sugar
- 56g melted butter
- 1 egg
- 30ml (2 tbsp) milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (fun to make at home!)
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- a few drops of coconut essence (optional; we didn’t have it in our pantry)
- Mix well and put in the fridge.
We skipped the toppings because the regular coconut filling is awesome enough.
- Divide the dough into 24 portions. I tend to do this by cutting the dough in half three times, then cutting the resulting eight pieces into three pieces each.
- Roll each portion of dough into a round ball. Arrange on a baking sheet, then cover and put in a warm place for 15 minutes.
- Flatten the dough balls. I like using a rolling pin here for a nice, even look, although it does take more time than squishing the dough manually.
- Spoon your filling into each flat piece of dough, wrap it up, and roll it into the shape you like. Try to make sure the buns are pinched closed, as the filling might leak out during baking.
- Set buns aside in a warm place to rise further, covering the buns with a damp cloth or cling wrap. Preheat oven to 375F.
- Do an egg wash or another wash if you want. Brushing the buns with a beaten egg (egg wash) gives them a beautiful golden colour, and also makes it easier for sprinkled things (seeds, etc.) to stick.
- Bake buns in a 375F oven for 15 minutes, or until the buns are golden brown.
- You can brush the freshly-baked buns with melted butter, if you want, but we skipped that step.
Other fillings we’ve tried:
- Wrap the flattened dough around a hotdog. Brush dough with beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top. You can push the sesame seeds into the dough slightly to help them stick.
- Spoon Nutella hazelnut spread into the middle of the flattened dough and roll it up. Brush dough with beaten egg and sprinkle almond slices on top.