Had a sudden craving for humbao and happily Jen had recently made sous-vide char-siu pork. Serious flashbacks to my arrival in San Francisco where the steamed dumplings at 3 for a dollar kept me fed for a couple of months.
- 1 tsp yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 cups flour. (I used all purpose, but I can see where variations might make sense.)
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
Proof the yeast in the water. Add a spoonful of the sugar if you really want to get it going.
Mix all remaining ingredients except the baking powder in a bowl. Add water and yeast mixture. Knead until smooth.
Let rest/raise for 2 hours.
*Now* mix in the baking powder. Knead well. I found that rolling the dough out, sprinkling the powder on, rolling it back up had some difficulties. a mist of water on the dough before sprinkling will help incorporate it. The point of the baking powder is to make the bao rise very fast and develop the sort of cauliflower appearance that it should have.
Divide into 10 pieces. Roll into small circles. Add a spoonful of filling* and wrap the dough around the filling and pinch closed. Place each on a square of parchment paper.
Set up a steamer. Steam the buns for 12 minutes over a fast boil.
Traditionally, a bleached flour is used, leading to a stark whiteness to the finished dumpling. If you are using something like King Arthur, expect a sort of off-white color.
*the filling recipe will come at some other time. but some char-siu sauce on precooked pork or chicken would work fine.