Hello friends of Paulina Cocina! Today I want to tell you all about a super fluffy and delicious bread: the bao bread. This bread of Chinese origin can be enjoyed with a wide variety of fillings, either as a meal or as a snack.
This time I will tell you some facts about bao bread and a recipe to prepare it at home. If you like to make bread, you cannot stop making this Asian recipe that is so fashionable in many parts of the world.
About the bao bread
Bao bread is a steamed bread of Asian origin., which is characterized by being soft, spongy and aromatic. Its very particular shape, similar to a mouth or an envelope, makes it ideal for use with many types of fillings, such as meat, chicken, pork and even sweet fillings.
Since a time ago bao bread has become very popular in several countries in Europe, the United States and Latin America, and you can get it in many stalls and food places. Its versatility to combine well with different types of ingredients makes it a new classic that has already crossed the limits of Asian gastronomy.
Bao bread and their names
Bao bread, also known as “baozi” o “bao bun” It is of Chinese origin, and its meaning in that language can be translated as “if” o “wrapper”, precisely because of the shape it has. It is believed that its origin is more than 1800 years ago, according to different records dating from the time of the dynasties in China.
In Japan, stuffed steamed bread is named after “nikuman” and it has some slight differences with the Chinese bath. Whereas the bao is more like a bread that encloses the filling, but remains visible, with the nikuman the filling is covered by the bread, and it is more like a closed bun.
In Taiwan, bao bread is known as “gua bao”, and it is a very popular dish or appetizer among Taiwanese. In Taipei City, the capital of the country, there are many places where you can find high-quality bao bread, such as restaurants and food markets.
What ingredients does bao bread have?
Like almost all breads, the bao has basic ingredients that are wheat flour, yeast, water, oil and sugar. Some versions also include vinegar. The difference in this bread is the way it is cooked, which, being steamed, has a texture that is different from traditional breads.
Traditionally, pao bread was filled with ground meat (minced) or with vegetables, and it was very common in Chinese breakfasts, but over time ingredients were added, as a result of the internationalization of bao bread, and each culture began to fill it with the elements that are more typical of your country.
- The shredded pork (pulled pork), is one of the most commonly found fillings. It is very tasty with a marinade that can be in barbecue sauce or soy sauce, and it goes very well with caramelized onion, delicious!
- He chicken with salsa teriyaki it also goes very well with bao bread, which can be accompanied with some browned peppers and onions.
- Los shrimp o prawns stir-fried with minced garlic and a few strips of carrots go perfectly with the sweet and sour flavor of the bao bread.
- Los fungus sautéed with a little garlic and onion, they are a delicious option to enjoy in the sponginess of bao bread.
- the bao bread with tofu Stir-fried in soy sauce, sesame seeds and coriander is a delicious filling to enjoy Chinese bread.
The keys to this preparation
Bao bread is made with the ingredients mentioned above, and it takes about two hours to ferment. But the most important detail is that it is steamed, preferably in a bamboo steamer.
The filling is previously cooked and can be incorporated into the bread in two ways: or before being steamed, so that the flavor is well impregnated; or once the bread is baked.
I invite you to discover all my homemade bread recipes!
Steamed bao bread recipe (bamboo steamer or the one you use at home)
- Yield: 12 panes
- Preparation time: 3 ½ h (taking fermentation times into account)
- 500 g. flour 0000
- 20 g. fresh yeast or 7 g dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of sugar
- 180 ml of water (approximate)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons vinegar (rice or apple)
- 12 pieces of parchment paper
How to make bao bread step by step
- Dissolve the yeast in a little warm water along with the sugar. Let it rest for a few minutes.
- In a bowl, mix the flour with the salt and make a well in the center. Place the dissolved yeast, oil and vinegar. With the help of a fork integrate,
- Assemble the dough with your hands and add more water, only if necessary. Knead about 10 minutes, until the dough doesn’t stick.
- Let rest covered with plastic wrap or a cloth, in a warm place for 90 or 120 minutes, until it doubles its size.
- Once you have risen, degas and knead for a few minutes on a lightly floured counter. Form 12 balls, cover them and let them rest for about 10 minutes.
- Roll out the balls with a rolling pin or with your hands and place the piece of parchment paper in the middle. Fold the other half to make it look like an envelope. Cover and let rest for about 30 minutes, until they have grown.
- Place the steamer over a pot of boiling water, preventing the water from touching the steamer. Place the loaves and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the steamer without uncovering it and leave the loaves resting for 5 minutes. Now yes, they are ready to fill and enjoy!
Use: Those that are left over can be fried and defrosted for a few minutes in a steamer or pan.