I don’t know what it is about these buns that make them so darn good but these little suckers are addicting. We have made these several times for a wide variety of people and not one person has ever turned down seconds. Even though the recipe might be time-consuming it is extremely simple. To combat the time commitment, you can freeze the buns which makes it an easy pick up for a party or a late night snack. We typically serve them with fresh pickles, roasted pork, hoison and siracha, but they are versatile and can accommodate many fillings. These are an instant crowd pleaser, just be careful…once you start you can’t stop!
Steamed Buns (Courtesy of Momofuku):
1 T and 1 t active dry yeast
1 1/2 c water, at room temperature
4 1/4 c bread flour
6 T sugar
3 T nonfat dry milk powder
1 T kosher salt
rounded 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/3 c rendered pork fat (or vegetable shortening) at room temp, plus more for shaping buns
Combine the yeast and water in a bowl of a stand mixer outfitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and fat and mix on the lowest speed possible for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should gather into a neat, not-too-tacky ball on the hook. When it does, lightly oil a medium mixing bowl, put the dough in it and cover the bowl with a dry kitchen towel. Let rise for about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Using a knife, divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 5 equal pieces. Gently roll the pieces into logs, then cut each log into 5 pieces, making 50 pieces total. They should be about the size of a ping-pong ball. Roll each piece into a ball. Cover the dough balls with a draping of plastic wrap and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut out fifty 4- inch squares of parchment paper. Coat a chopstick with whatever fat you’re working with.
Flatten one ball with the palm of your hand, then use a rolling-pin to roll it out into a 4-inch-long oval. Lay the greased chopstick across the middle of the oval and fold the oval over onto itself to form the bun shape. Withdraw the chopstick, leaving the bun folded, and put the bun on a square of parchment paper. Stick it back under the plastic wrap and form the rest of the buns. Let the buns rest for 30-45 minutes, they will rise a little.
Set up the steamer on the stove. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the steamer, steam the buns on the parchment squares for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment. You can use the buns immediately (reheat them for a minute or so in the steamer if necessary) or allow to cool completely, then seal in plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to a few months. Reheat frozen buns in a stovetop steamer for 2-3 minutes, until puffy, soft and warmed all the way through!