View Full Version : The Bao-wich

04-02-2013, 11:42 PM
I have struggled with getting a bao (think pork buns here) dough I was satisfied with, at the same time, I have not found a cheap white bun recipe for home use that I liked. This cook may have solved both problems. I made pan-fried bao, steamed bao and a toasted bao, all with one dough and excellent results. From my blog, but, no reason to go there.

For some time, I have been fussing around with bread dough, trying to come up with a suitable bun for pulled pork and other BBQ-type sandwiches. I have made many good bread rolls, but, I am wanting the soft white bun quality that a good BBQ pork sandwich has, but, not having to buy it from the store.

As I was munching on some Pork Belly Bao, it struck me that this might be something to try making, this time starting with a few recipes from other cooks, whose Asian cooking chops are well known, primarily, I would rely on Andrea Nguyen and her book Asian Dumplings, then riff wildly off of that. I ended up making some chicken and mushroom bao, which tasted great. Which, along with some leftover slaw, gave me a test bed idea. This idea.

http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u105/landarc/bao-1_zps0caa9705.jpg (http://i166.photobucket.com/albums/u105/landarc/bao-1_zps0caa9705.jpg)
Yes, a Bao-wich

I had a leftover chicken mushroom bao, which was mostly a steamed bread dough, around some slow braised after roasting chicken and shiitake mushrooms, along with ginger, onion, garlic and carrots. The bao was given a toast to warm up, then split and piled with some Asian inspired slaw. The bao bun was terrific. Soft, pillowy and had a great texture. I have a new plan. This was an excellent bao dough as well, even though I over-steamed a couple, these did not shrink or tighten, they kept their smooth shape. A winner so far.

Bao Dough:
1/8 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup milk
3/8 cup water
1 tablespoon yeast

1. Combine and heat water and milk to 110F.
2. Add syrup and mix. Add yeast and allow to sit for 20 minutes to proof.

1/2 tablespoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon fat (I used palm shortening, you could also use lard, bacon grease etc...FAT)

3. Combine dry ingredients, work fat into the flour completely.
4. Combine liquids with dry ingredients in a large bowl.
5. Knead in bowl for 5 minutes, dough may appear a little rough still.
6. Oil bowl, cover with plastic wrap, rest for 2 hours.
7. Remove from bowl, knead for 2 minutes, dough will become smooth and stiff.
8. For bao, or other bread shape, I plan on doing buns next time.

This dough comes out feeling quite stiff, but, it remains very workable. It steams beautifully, and my plan, is to steam them for 12 minutes, then toast them in a 350F oven for color and texture.

04-02-2013, 11:55 PM
Bob that looks very interesting and worth a try. You bring the Bao buns and I'll provide the pastrami, lox, bacon, whatever...

04-03-2013, 12:06 AM
That sounds like a plan

04-03-2013, 12:14 AM
Is your Avatar saying "Bob's got back"?

04-03-2013, 12:20 AM
Not anymore, I took Vinny to say my last avatar was not family friendly enough, so I changed it. I got boxes now

04-03-2013, 12:45 AM
I am coming to the party too and I will bring these. Freshly baked whenever I want a serious hotdog, which is all the time.....:-D


04-03-2013, 01:47 AM
Thank you for the back dough recipe. I suddenly have a hankering for pulled pork baos.

04-03-2013, 02:08 AM
One thing I forgot in the post. Once formed, they need to proof for one hour. Then steam

04-03-2013, 02:51 AM
Thanks for sharing the recipe Bob! I've been meaning to search for a good bao dough recipe for char-siu bao or pulled pork bao.

04-03-2013, 07:04 AM
Would you mind showing your setup for steaming?

04-03-2013, 07:15 AM
I have no photos of my steaming, but, I am using a simple Black and Decker electric steamer. Largely because I broke my bamboo one some years back. I like to put a layer of coarse shredded lettuce lining the bottom. In a bamboo steamer, I use whole lettuce leaves. With a bamboo steamer, I just set it on a wok with water in it.

04-03-2013, 07:50 AM
A very interesting post, landarc - thank you for posting. Could you specify roughly the size of the bao you're forming?

04-03-2013, 08:43 AM
One thing I forgot in the post. Once formed, they need to proof for one hour. Then steam

Wait. Do you eat them, drink them, or read them?

04-03-2013, 09:02 AM
Nice bun Onii-Chan!

04-03-2013, 09:05 AM
Very nice, Bob! One day I will try this.

You should take a bao... :bow:

04-03-2013, 09:35 AM
Thank goodness! I misread the title and though you made a snake sandwich!:shock:

Looks like a damn fine pork sammich bun from here!:thumb:

04-03-2013, 09:40 AM
Those look great landarc and have been added to my infinite list of things to try.

Big George's BBQ
04-03-2013, 09:44 AM
Sounds really good Bob

04-03-2013, 10:37 AM
Thank you for that recipe! I have actually recently started looking for a decent bao recipe.

I realized I needed to do something with pull porked leftovers and i was thinking of a bao bun w/ bimbimbap style veggies and pulled pork for a sandwich. I wanted an Asian style bread/bun but unfortunately can't find one at the grocery stores here other than Pandesal at the Filipino bakeries (which I dont think would of went well with the sandwich i was envisioning)

04-03-2013, 12:33 PM
Those look perfect and sound easy to make. I'll finally get to use my steamer pot that I bought for bao! Thanks for sharing your footwork with us.

04-03-2013, 01:12 PM
Nice recipe, Bob! Looks to be easier than the one I use for my char sui bao, or my pork belly and kimchi sammiches. I'll try this! Thanks! :thumb:

04-03-2013, 01:34 PM
As to the size I make, these were stupidly large, meybe 7" or so. They should be 4 to 5 inches. But, I have non-dextrous hands, so 7" it is. The pan-fried bao were smaller, around 2-3 inches in diameter.

04-03-2013, 01:35 PM
As to the size I make, these were stupidly large, meybe 7" or so. They should be 4 to 5 inches. But, I have non-dextrous hands, so 7" it is. The pan-fried bao were smaller, around 2-3 inches in diameter.

If that were so, then your knife skills would suck. Which from what I've seen anyway, they don't.

04-03-2013, 01:36 PM
Thanks - I was concerned about over/under cooking if the size was off.

04-03-2013, 01:42 PM
Oddly, the timing is rather similar. I would say that since the guts of the bao are already cooked it is just the dough that has to cook, the guys just need to heat through. So, 12 minutes is very typical. Go with 12 minutes. Even the pan-fried ones took about that time, over a low heat (bread dough burns FAST)

04-03-2013, 01:46 PM
One thing I forgot in the post. Once formed, they need to proof for one hour. Then steam

How do I steam them??? Gonna make this for sure! Thanks for the recipe!

04-03-2013, 01:55 PM
I use something like this right now...

because I broke my...

Which is far preferable.

Although I really want...
for use on my wok

04-03-2013, 01:57 PM
ok...that's over my head. How about you make them and sell them???

04-03-2013, 02:05 PM
No way I can compete with China. The bamboo steamers sit on a wok, cost about $10. The stainless steel version is about $25 but, never breaks. Also sits on a wok. The electric steamer also cost me about $25 and is self-contained. Easy to use and has a timer.

As you can see above the steamer baskets all fit into a wok. The wok has boiling water in it, which provides the steam. It is a matter of putting the steamer baskets with food in them, over the wok. The stainless one works similar, but, must fit over the wok, not in it, to get the seal.

04-03-2013, 03:55 PM
Who sells your stainless steamer of choice, Bob?

04-03-2013, 04:02 PM
Out here, they have them at Jetro and The Wok Shop. They are pretty typical items at any restaurant supply store that carries Chinese cooking equipment.

There are arguments as to stainless versus bamboo, some good ones actually. But, stainless doesn't break. As easily.