(updated September 2021 with new photos)
This recipe calls for “tangzhong” (湯種), a seed roux to make incredibly soft tender, fluffy bread, a classic bread style from places like Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.
I have fond memories of eating bao that is pillow soft, with layers that I could see as I peel it from the buns. That was a sign of a good cloud-like snack.
It’s a sweet bread dough, great with sweet spreads, brilliant as French toasts and I also like to fill it with cha siu (Hong Kong BBQ Pork) or cooked curry mince. These are great for lunches and picnics.
For the loaf, I like to make a braid/plait to give the tops some interesting features. There are also some rolled into cute rounds for burgers later on. I’m working on a separate post to make these into cardamon buns so watch this space.
This recipe produces 2 loaves – I usually use half for a braided loaf, and the rest made into something else:
- shaped into balls for burger buns;
- shaped into balls and filled with a savoury filling;
- shaped into tiny balls and baked together as a sheet, covering with garlic & parsley butter and grated mozzarella cheese; or
- dough flattened and filled with spreads, log rolled and cut.
- 320ml Lewis Road Creamery A2 homogenised milk (120ml and 200ml portions)
- 585g baker’s flour (60g and 525g portions)
- 6g (1 1/2 tsp) salt
- 65g caster sugar
- 30g full cream milk powder
- 10g (3 tsp) instant yeast
- 120g eggs (2 eggs, size 7)
- 100g Lewis Road Creamery unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 egg + 1 tbsp milk (for egg wash)
- Place 120ml of milk and 60g flour in a small saucepan, and heat at a medium heat. Keep stiring, cooking for a few minutes till thick. Take off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes.
- Add this seed roux to a mixer bowl.
- Add remaining ingredients (except egg wash) to the bowl. Mix until dough forms. Change to a dough hook, and knead dough for 10 minutes. Dough should look shiny, elastic and not too sticky.
- Transfer dough to a work surface or baking paper dusted with flour. Gather and roll dough into a taunt ball and cover with a tea towel. Leave it in a warm place to prove for an hour (if your oven has a proving function, use that, otherwise, set your oven to 40C without the fan).
- Grease 2 loaf pans with baking spray (if you are making loaves only).
- Cut the dough in half. Cut each half into 3 balls.
- Roll each ball into a rectangle. Take each rectangle, roll from the long edge into logs, make 6 logs of dough altogether.
- Take 3 logs and form a braid, and gently tuck the ends under. Place braids into the two loaf pans and leave to prove for 45-60 minutes.
- Mix egg and milk in a small bowl for the egg wash.
- Preheat oven to 190C, fan bake.
- Brush top surface of loaves with egg wash and bake for 6 minutes at 190C. Turn down the temperature to 170C and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Watch it towards the end to make sure the tops aren’t browning too much.
- Remove from the oven when loaves are golden.
- Remove loaves from pans and let it cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.