Thursday, May 30, 2013

AB #31 - Baked Siew Bao/Pau (烧包)

These were the baked siew baos  (烧包) I did last Sunday. Some call it the "Seremban Siew Bao". As you can see, they were not very successful, as I failed to seal the pleats tightly, and they all bursted out during baking, became "smiling" siew baos (开口笑烧包). Pls don't laugh at me! 请大家不要见笑! Honestly, I think I should enroll myself in a bao-pleating course the next time I return to Singapore. :)

Btw, if you don't already know, I just announced here that the AB#31 buns event has been extended by 2 more days, so, the last day of submission will be 2 June 2013 (Sun) and the Roundup will be held on 3 June 2013 (Mon). Yippee, more buns, as if I haven't had enough! :p

Recipe adapted from Lydia Teh of mykitch3n

Char Siew Fillings

Ingredients A
250g char siew, diced
1/2 tbsp cooking oil
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp sugar*
1 tbsp oyster sauce*
1 tbsp light soya sauce*
1 tsp sesame oil

Ingredients B
150 ml water
1.5 tbsp corn flour
salt to taste

Method for Char Siew Fillings
1. For the char siew fillings, if you would like to make your own char siew, you can refer to my 2 homemade char siew recipes. Retain as much sauce as possible, then instead of using 150ml water, weigh the amount of sauce you have, and top up the rest with water to 150ml. You may avoid the sugar, oyster sauce and soya sauce if you are using the sauce that comes with the char siew, be it home-made or store-bought. For the case of my homemade char siew, I had 75ml of sauce, so I added another 75ml of water and I only used 1/2 tbsp oil, 1 tsp sesame oil plus 1 small diced onion.

2. To make the char siew fillings, heat up the oil in a non-stick pan, saute the diced onions for 1-2 min, add in other ingredients and stir-fry for 1 min. Then mix water with corn flour and add the corn flour solution into the pan to thicken. Stir well and simmer until the gravy is thickened. Dish out the char siew fillings and set aside to cool. Divide it into 12 portions.

(Makes 12 buns)

Ingredients for Inner Dough 
120g plain flour
60g shortening 

Ingredients for Outer Dough 
120g plain flour, sifted
30g icing sugar, sifted
30g shortening 
60ml water

Ingredients for Egg Wash
1 egg yolk + 1/2 tbsp milk

1. Inner Dough :  Place the plain flour and shortening into a big mixing bowl, mix well and knead to form a dough. Cover with clingwrap and let it rest for 30 min, then divide into 12 equal balls of dough. (I first used spatula to mix together the ingredients, then I used my hands to knead a little until it came together to form a ball of dough. Do not over-knead. The inner dough was not sticky at all. Total weight of inner dough was 170g, I got 14g each after divided by 12.)

2. Outer Dough :  Place the sifted plain flour, sifted icing sugar, water and shortening into a big mixing bowl, mix well and knead to form a dough. Cover with clingwrap and let it rest for 30 min, then divide into 12 equal balls of dough. (The outer dough was very sticky, so I used the dough mode of my bread machine to knead for 4 to 5 minutes until it formed a smooth non-stick dough. You may use hand-kneading if you like, but I personally don't like to hand-knead sticky dough. Total weight of outer dough was 240g, I got 20g each after divided by 12.)

3. Pls refer to my step-by-step picture collage above for the method of rolling.

  • Step 1 - On a slightly floured work surface, flatten the outer dough into a circle and put the inner dough on top. 
  • Step 2 - Wrap the outer dough around the inner dough, pinch and seal the edges, forming a smooth ball.
  • Step 3 - Using a slightly floured rolling pin, roll out the ball of dough into a rectangular shape.
  • Step 4 - Roll it up like a swiss roll.
  • Step 5 - Turn it 90 degrees.
  • Step 6 - Again, using the rolling pin, flatten and roll it out into a rectangular shape.
  • Step 7 - Roll it up like a swiss roll again.
  • Step 8 - Turn the rolled dough so that it is now standing with the rolled side facing up.
  • Step 9 - Flatten it with your palm so that it now looks like the shell of a snail. Do the same for all 12 portions.

4. Roll out the dough into a 12 cm diameter, and place the char siew fillings in the centre. Pleat and pinch just like a char siew bao. Place each bao with pleated side up on a tray lined with baking paper. Apply egg wash with a pastry brush and sprinkle some white sesame seeds.

5. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees celsius for 20 min till golden brown. (Do not over-bake! I baked an extra 5 min in the hope of achieving a nicer golden-brown colour, but my siew baos all erupted like volcanos, with the char siew fillings oozing out like lava!)

- I made 12 baked siew baos and I gave 2 to a chinese friend who runs a chinese restaurant nearby, her husband (the chef) said he felt that the taste was better than what he got from 美食城, the dim sum restaurant in Antwerp Chinatown. That really made my day!

- These baked buns are best eaten fresh on the same day. I ate 3 on the 2nd day, and I felt that the skin has turned soft and not as crispy.

I am submitting this post to Aspiring Bakers #31 - Bao Ho-Chiak (May 2013) hosted by none other than myself, Miss B of Everybody Eats Well in Flanders.


  1. Wah... baked siew paos. One of my favourite snacks! Honestly speaking I love the char siew filling oozing from the crater of the baos. Looks so inviting. Yummy :-P

    1. I thought the craters look like (Mount Pinatubo) volcano eruption! This recipe uses shortening for both doughs, time to put your can of Crisco shortening to good use! :)

  2. Wow,very nice siew paos! I wish to learn this too :)

    1. Thank you! Should have done a better job in pleating. Let me try to upload the recipe by tonight...

  3. Hello there,
    I'm also from the sunnier climes of Singapore n Malaysia now living in London. I've just come across your blog whilst searching for pau recipes. Like you I'm trying to recreate my favourite eats from home! Do you think we can use this siu pau skin for char siu sou?
    Enjoy reading your blog, will making your page one of my favourites!

    1. What is char siew sou? If you mean 叉烧酥, then the answer is yes, because this is chao-shao-su-bing.


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