Hoi Sin Mushroom Bao Recipe
January 21, 2020
There are very few things in this world more comforting than a freshly steamed bao bun, still warm and packed with a delicious filling. These guys use the wonder that is the king oyster mushroom to create a shockingly meaty middle, along with garlic and ginger for aromatics and hoi sin sauce. The dough is surprisingly easy to make once you embrace the yeast, and these buns keep well in the fridge for around 24 hours, so any leftovers will make a quick microwave lunch!
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
For the Bao Dough
- 235 ml plant milk
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 200 g plain flour
- 160 g type “00” flour
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
For the Oyster Mushroom Filling
- 5 or 6 king oyster mushrooms
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 4 spring onions (finely chopped and greens separated from whites)
- 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 1 inch ginger (peeled and finely chopped)
- 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 3 tbsp hoi sin sauce
To Make the Bao Dough
- Heat the plant milk in a saucepan for a minute or until a drop feels slightly warm on the back of your hand. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk into the milk the yeast and sugar and set aside. A few minutes later the milk should be frothy and smell yeasty.
- In a medium bowl combine the flours and the fine sea salt. Add the milk mixture and mix well with a spoon until you have a shaggy, sticky dough. Cover the bowl with a damp teatowel and leave for ten minutes.
- Ten minutes later, turn the dough out and knead for a good five minutes. The dough should be very smooth and not sticky. Drizzle a tiny bit of oil into the bowl and spread around with your fingers. Return the dough to the greased bowl and cover with a damp teatowel. Leave to prove for a minimum of 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- While the dough is proving make the filling.
To Make the Oyster Mushroom Filling
- Using a fork, shred the king oyster mushrooms into fine shreds. Set aside.
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add the vegetable oil. Bring to heat and then add the whites of the spring onions, the garlic and the ginger. Fry for a few minutes but don’t allow the garlic to burn.
- Add the shredded mushrooms and fry for another couple of minutes or until the mushrooms are looking soft and are starting to brown on the edges.
- Add the soy sauce and cook for a further minute before turning off the heat and adding the hoi-sin sauce.
- Transfer the cooked mushrooms to a large plate and allow them to cool while the bao dough finishes proving.
To Form the Bao
- Tip out the proved dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently push out the larger air bubbles with your finger tips. Roll the dough into a cylinder and then slice into 16 equal discs. Cover the dough with a damp teatowel.
- Take one disk of dough and, using a rolling pin, roll it into a flat circle around 2.5 inches wide. Pick up the dough circle and place it flat in the palm of your hand. Add around 2 level teaspoons of filling mixture in the centre of the dough circle.
- Working with your other hand, pinch one side of the dough together to form a small pleat in the edge. Rotate the circle slightly and repeat. Keep pleating until the dough is crimped all around the filling. Pinch the seam together one last time to seal and then set down on a small square of baking parchment. Cover with a damp teatowel and repeat the process until you’ve used all the dough and filling.
- Once you’ve finished forming all the bao, allow them to rest and prove for a further 20 minutes.
- Heat up an electric steamer or place a bamboo steamer over a saucepan of water over medium heat. Working in batches, starting with the bao you formed first, steam the buns for 15 minutes. Once steamed, the bao should be puffy and sticky to the touch. Carefully remove the bao from the steamer and set aside to cool for 2 minutes before serving.
See the full step-by-step break down of the process below. You’ll find this bit particularly useful if you’re a novice when it comes to working with yeasted doughs – fear not! You’ll be a dough pro in no time!
To Make the Bao Dough
Mixing and Resting
To begin, you’ll need to mix your ingredients together to form a rough dough. Yeast works best when it comes into contact with three things: moisture, warmth and sugar. This is why I recommend slightly warming some plant milk, mixing in the sugar before adding the yeast. Leave it to go frothy (which is a sign that the yeast is awake!) and then add this to all your remaining dough ingredients. Mix well and then cover and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
Once rested, the flour should all be fully hydrated, which means the dough will be easy to work with and not sticky. Tip out the dough and knead it for a good 5-10 minutes. You’ll know when the dough is ready because the texture should change from a soft, shaggy dough to one which springs back when prodded. It should also be very smooth – which means the gluten is activated – that’s good news!
Once the dough is kneaded, you need to give the yeast time to do its magic. This means leaving it to sit and prove, somewhere around room temperature. Grease the inside of your bowl with a little oil first which will help the dough come out easier later. Making sure the dough is covered with a damp teatowel, leave it to rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has proved, you’ll need to deflate it, so push out all the big air bubbles with your finger tips. You’ll then need to roll the dough into a cylinder and divide into 16 discs. Don’t worry if they’re not all exactly the same time. They just need to be roughly equal. Cover the discs of dough with a damp teatowel while you progress to the next step.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, you now need to roll out some circles of dough. Aim for circles of around 2.5 inches.
Once you have a circle of dough to work with, you’ll want to add around 2 tsp of filling to the centre. Hold the dough circle in the palm of your hand and place the filling right in the middle.
This is perhaps the most tricky part. It’ll take a couple of tries and you might find it helpful to watch a few youtube videos before you start. Pinch the side of the dough to make a pleat between your thumb and index finger. Rotate the dough slightly, pushing the filling down with your other thumb (the one holding the dough) and repeat the process – pinching the dough to add another pleat. Continue pleating until you’ve come full circle. Pinch the final pleat together to seal the top of the bao.
Proving and Steaming
Before you can steam the bao, they’ll need one last little prove. Place the bao under a damp teatowel again and allow them to rise for another 20 minutes. You’ll need to steam them in batches so remember which bao you formed first and put them to the top of the queue. Turn on a steamer or place a bamboo steamer over a saucepan of boiling water. Place each bao on a small square of baking parchment and pop in the steamer. They’ll need to steam for at least ten minutes. When they’re done, they should be white, light and fluffy. Remove them carefully and repeat until all the bao are steamed.