Making Baozi

Two leaveners give baozi a cloud-like fluff that’s a perfect compliment to a sweet barbecue (or bean paste, or custard) interior. Sampling one straight from the steamer you could almost convince yourself that you’re eating some form of savory cotton candy. Such is the magic of steam baking. What you lose in color and crisp you gain in other-worldy lightness.

I confess that boazi intimidated me a little at first, I was worried about the shaping step. But a decent top crimp is well within the grasp of the average baker. And heck, if it fails you can just pinch it closed and steam the buns upside down instead. No shame there. They taste just as good. Start by preparing the filling of your choice and assembling your ingredients. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl (or the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle). Stir them together.


Baozi Barbecue Pork Filling

Reader Sally supplied me with the basis of this recipe, which I ultimately decided to change in favor of a sweeter hoisin sauce barbecue style. Thanks, Sally!

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
12 ounces pork, in strips
2 teaspoons flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 ounces (1/4 cup) water
2 tablespoons lard or peanut oil
2 scallions, chopped fine
2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic


Baozi Recipe

This formula is somewhat different from the traditional baozi dough recipes I’ve seen. It uses a machine for one, because I’m lazy. Next, it employs instant yeast instead of regular active dry, which eliminates a step. It also incorporates the baking powder early. The reason, because modern baking powders can sit in a wet medium and still react when heated hours or even days later. Though it’s not strictly traditional, it works splendidly.

1 lb. (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
8 ounces (1 cup) water
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) canola or peanut oil