Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Breakfast Steam Buns

When I was a about eight years old, my mom and I visited a family friend who was from China by way of Vietnam. I remember two things about the trip. The first was the drama of not having any clean underwear in my bag and as a result I never let my mother pack for me again. The second was breakfast. My mother's friend made steam buns with scrambled eggs inside of a soft white dough that was pure heaven to a simple kid. For some reason I have never tried making them despite learning to make pork buns and sweet bean buns in Japan. Today, I whipped up a batch of dough, scrambled some eggs, fried some bacon, and steamed up my first batch. If you like steam buns, you will like these. You could even add a bit of cheese to good effect or some sautéd green onions to trick them out a bit more.

Cooking Notes
*Flour varies wildly in the amount of protein and gluten it has. Your all-purpose flour may be softer or harder than mine which means you may need more or less water by about 5 ml-- I tend to use the King Arthur brand.

** Sesame oil adds a wonderful fragrance and taste, but if you don’t have it try it with vegetable oil.

Breakfast Steam Buns
8 buns

Ingredients for Dough
All purpose Flour*, 250 gm (about 1 3/4 cup or 8.8 oz)
Instant Yeast, ½ tsp
Baking Powder, ½ tsp
Sugar, 1 Tbsp
Salt, ½ tsp
Sesame Oil**, 1 Tbsp
Warm Water, 145 ml 

Filling (Optional)
Scrambled Eggs, 2  
Whipping Cream, 1 Tbsp
Salt & pepper, a pinch
Bacon, 2 slices, diced and cooked

Weight Scale
Parchment Paper, 8 squares

What to do

  1. Whisk together dry ingredients. Add in oil and water. Use your hands and knead the dough until thoroughly mixed, about 5 minutes. Form into a ball. Place dough in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow dough to raise and relax in a warm draft free place while you prepare the filling, about 30 minutes.
  2. Chop bacon. Whisk together eggs with cream and a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry bacon until crisp, drain, set aside. Scramble eggs until just set. Set aside.
  3. Divide dough using a bench cutter into 8 uniform pieces. Form each piece into a ball, place onto a lightly dusted pan (use potato starch or flour), and keep covered with the plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Allow the buns to relax and raise again for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Cut 8 parchment paper squares. 
  5. Place a pot of water over medium low heat with a steamer on top. Take a ball of dough and gently press from the center outward with your thumbs and fingertips to shape it into a round flat disc. Add a spoonful of the scramble eggs and a sprinkle of the bacon. 
  6. Bring together the opposite edges of the dough and pinch- first in the center, then each side, until the filling is sealed within the dough. Place the bun onto a parchment square and place in a steamer with the seam up. Repeat.
  7. Place the steamer over medium heat/flame and steam for 10 to 12 minutes. Serve hot.
Add a spoonful of eggs and a sprinkle of bacon
Pinch together opposite sides of the dough around the filling
Pinch together edges to enclose the filling
Steam and eat them!

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