I tried making baozi a few times, and I finally came up with a recipe where the bun is super soft and airy.
I have not perfected the folds, however, but they taste amazing anyway! Moral of the story: you too can make delicious pork buns, even if you are clumsy with folding/closing the outside wrappers.
How to make baozi dough
The key here is to use sufficient yeast, and I like adding sugar to give the slightly sweet taste to the outside of the buns. When I used less yeast in the recipe, the buns were flatter and not as good.
- Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and slowly pour in water until the dough starts to form. Don’t be afraid to use your hands!
- Knead! With your hands, or with the help of a mixer. Knead until it’s not sticky anymore, and the surface is smooth, about 10 minutes with a machine, a bit longer by hand.
- Let it rise. While the dough rests and the yeast works its magic, you can prepare the filling.
- Second rise. This happens after we fill the buns, and we let them rise for a second time before steaming.
How to make pork filling for baozi
- Finely chop the ginger and scallion before adding so that they blend with the meat.
- Don’t add all the water at once. Add water to the filling slowly. Each time, mix it well until all the liquid is absorbed. The added water will help make the meat juicier after steaming.
- Mix the pork until it’s sticky like in the photo below. This will help the filling stay together when you’re assembling the buns.
Tips for making baozi
- Make sure the air bubbles are out of the dough pieces before you roll them out. If they have been sitting for a while before you got to them, quickly knead it again before flattening and rolling.
- Don’t worry about fully closing the buns. They steam well either way.
- After steaming for 10 minutes, don’t open the steamer right away, as the quick change in temperature can make the tops flatten. Wait 5 minutes before you open and enjoy.
Sauce for Chinese pork buns
For the best Chinese dipping sauce great for dumplings too!), mix the following ingredients, adjusting the proportions based on your preference:
- Soy sauce
- Black vinegar – like this one
- Asian sesame oil – like this one
- Chinese chili oil – this one is the best!
- Chopped scallions
Fluffy Chinese Pork Buns (Baozi/包子)
- 350 g all purpose flour
- 175 ml water, luke warm
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- pinch salt
- 2 tbsp sugar, optional – i like the buns a little sweet
- 1 tsp olive or vegetable oil, optional – to keep the dough from sticking to the bowl while rising
- 250 g pork, fatter cuts is better for the filling
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1 stalk scallion or green onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp light or medium soy sauce
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar, granulated or brown
- 1 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp rice wine , or other cooking wine
- 2 tsp corn starch
- 2 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup water
To make the dough
- In a large bowl, combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt and mix until combined. Be careful not to put the salt directly on top of the yeast when adding, as that can kill the yeast.
- Slowly add in the water and mix until the dough starts to form. You can use your hands to press the dry bits together to form a ball.
- Using the dough hook attachment of a hand or stand mixer, or with your hands, knead the dough for 9-12 until it's elastic and smooth. Shape the dough into a ball with your hands, drizzle a little oil over it (enough to coat the ball), and cover with plastic. Set aside to rise for 1 – 1.5 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.
To make the pork filling
- While the dough is rising, prepare the pork filling. Combine ground pork, with chopped ginger, scallions, soy sauce, salt, sugar, oyster sauce, rice wine, corn starch, and sesame oil. Mix well together using chopsticks.
- Slowly add in the water, 1/3 at a time, and mix until combined. The filling should start to look mushy and sticky as the stirring breaks down the fat and protein in the pork.
Assembling the buns
- When the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead the dough again to remove the air bubbles until the surface looks smooth again (few minutes). Divide into 8 portions, or more if you're making smaller buns. Knead each of the portions for 1 or 2 minutes until smooth.
- Flatten each ball with the palm of your hands, and roll it out to form the wrapper. Try to keep the center of the dough thicker (this is where the filling will sit) and the outer edges thinner.
- Roughly divide the pork filling depending on the number of buns you're making. Scoop one portion onto the wrapper and fold the edges together to close. It doesn't matter if the folds don't look pretty, and it doesn't even need to be fully sealed – it will still taste good!
- Repeat with the rest of the buns. Place the finished buns on individual pieces of wax/baking paper and let them rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- Place the buns in a steamer, leaving enough space between them for expansion. Steam for 10 minutes, and let sit for 5 minutes in the steamer before opening. You may have to do this in batches, depending on the size of your steamer.
- Remove from the steamer, let it cool down a bit, and enjoy!