Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easter brunch bunny bao (steamed buns)


Bunny shaped bao (steamed buns) with egg and bacon filling

Makes about 12 bunnies

For the dough:

  • 400g / 14 oz. all-purpose white flour
  • 1 packet (7g) dry yeast
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 220ml / a bit less than 1 U.S. cup warm water
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil (such as canola, safflower)
  • extra flour for rolling out

For the filling:

  • 150g / about 5 oz (a few slices) bacon, speck or pancetta, cut into small dice
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • 3 Tbs. chives, finely chopped

Equipment: a pair of sharp scissors, a multi-tiered bamboo steamer, kitchen parchment paper

Make the dough. In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients together well. Add the warm water a little at a time, mixing all the time, until it forms a shaggy ball. Add the oil and knead in the bowl until the dough cleans the sides. Place on a board (lightly floured if necessary) and knead until smooth. Form into a ball, place back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Leave until risen to about 2 1/2 times its original size, about 1 hour.

In the meantime, make the filling. In a dry non-stick frying pan, fry the the bacon bits until crispy but not too black. Drain well on a paper towel.

Mix together the egg, soy sauce, sugar and mirin. In the same non-stick frying pan, mix the egg around to make scrambled eggs that are firm but not hard (take of the heat while still soft, and they’ll continue to cook to the ideal firmness). Add the chives and the bacon at the end and mix well. Let cool to room temperature.

Punch down the risen dough, roll into a snake and cut into 12 equal pieces. Make each piece into a small, smooth ball. Cover with a dampened kitchen towel and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Cut the parchment paper into 12 10cm / 4 inches or so sized squares.

Make ready the steaming equipment.

bunnybaostep1.thumbnail.jpgFlatten a dough ball to about 12 cm / 5 inches in diameter, making the edges thinner than the middle part.

bunnybaostep2.thumbnail.jpgPlace about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the dough circle. Don’t try to overfill or you will have trouble closing up the dough.

bunnybaostep1.thumbnail.jpgGather up the dough around the filling, pinching to seal well. The dough should be moist enough to form a good seal, but if not brush the edges with the tiny bit of water and pinch closed again.

bunnybaostep1.thumbnail.jpgFlip the bun over, and form into a longish oval shape, rounding out any bumps if needed. Look at the bun and decide which end looks best as the ‘face’ of the bunny.

bunnybaostep5.thumbnail.jpgLay a pair of clean, sharp scissors almost flat against the top of the bun lenghwise. The points should aim for about 1/3 from the ‘face’ end of the bun. Snip two ‘ears’, taking care not to cut through the dough so the filling is exposes.

bunnybaostep6.thumbnail.jpgHere’s how the bunny should look after the ears are snipped. If the ears are too round, flatten them carefully with your fingers.

bunnybaostep7.thumbnail.jpgTo make the eyes, poke small holes with a chopstick end and poke in a piece of chive in each hole. Don’t go too deep! (If you are in a hurry, just poke the holes and skip the chives.)

bunnybaostep8.thumbnail.jpgPlace each bun on a piece of parchment paper, and place in a steamer well apart (they will puff up to about twice the size, and any touching parts will not be smooth). Steam for about 20 minutes. Eat while piping hot.


The dough here is a bit more delicate than the basic one I gave for steamed buns previously. The trick to making the bunnies smooth and cute is to not overhandle the dough, and to keep the surface moist when letting them rest. Don’t use bread flour - use all-purpose, or even cake flour. (The dough recipe comes from a fantastic book in Japanese called Peking (Beijing) Style Flour Cooking by Wu Wuen.)

To make ahead, steam them, let them cool a bit and put into plastic bags and freeze. You can steam them from frozen for about 20-25 minutes until hot.

Credits to :http://www.justhungry.com/easter-brunch-bunny-bao-steamed-buns

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