Learn how to make soft fluffy and perfectly steamed bao buns with this easy recipe. These soft steamed homemade vegan buns are like plain canvas and you can fill them with typically anything you like.
Surprisingly super easy to make these buns make for such a delicious and fun weekend brunch. Simple vegan recipe.
So how do you like light as feather soft and fluffy steamed dough filled with some spicy filling, perfect for monsoons right? That is bao bun for you.
Homemade bao buns are my all time favorite. I love to make them as much as I like to eat them 🙂 I first had it in a small cafe years back and have been at home ever since.
What Are Bao Buns?
Bao buns also known as steamed buns are light, fluffy and delicious buns with a unique folded shape perfect for filling anything you like inside.
These buns are usually made of white flour, leavened with yeast and baking powder. They are crazy easy to make knead the dough, let it leaven, roll, cut, fold and steam.
You don’t even need a stand mixer, I just hand kneaded the dough.
Traditionally bao are filled with glazed pork but there are so many vegetarian and vegan choices out there. This time around I used this tofu stir fry as filling.
You see what I did there? I basically stuff any veggie or paneer either fried or drenched in sauce in homemade bao. They taste incredibly good!
Sometimes I add pickled veggies or shallots pickled in vinegar for extra zing. You can even top your stuffed bao with sambal eolek for more spice.
What’s more you can get all creative and fill something sweet into these steamed buns too!
In whichever you choose to serve these will be a big hit and will become a fond favorite!
These Bao Buns Are
Truly a delightful meal, absolutely fun to make!
Vegan with vegan & gluten free filling
Feather light, soft and fluffy
Easy to make
You need 6 ingredients for dough
You can use whole wheat flour in parts too.
Tips To Make Bao Buns
Before going into the recipe here are few tips and tricks for you to keep in mind before you start cooking!
Flour– This bao bun dough in traditionally made with plain flour or all purpose flour. However you can accommodate this recipe to use a part of whole wheat flour. Replace 1.5 cups of plain flour with all purpose flour in the recipe. I don’t recommend using 100% whole wheat flour in this recipe as it will make these steamed buns very dense.
Leavening the dough– As you can see, this recipe uses two leavening agents. Yeast helps in making fluffy soft buns while baking powder makes it super light. I suggest you add both in the recipe.
Oil– Few drops of oil helps in making the dough soft and supple. You can leave it out if you prefer.
Get the size right– Use a 4″ inch cutter for perfect sized steamed buns. The buns expand on steaming so make sure to keep the size right while cutting.
This is a fairly easy recipe. If you use good quality yeast and get the hang of proofing the dough, the steamed buns turn out pretty good.
Steamer- Use a good quality bamboo steamer for this buns if you have one. There is a certain charm and authentic feel when we use a bamboos steamer for these steamed buns or momos. I don’t have one yet so I used my steel steamer.
Freezing the bao buns– These buns freeze extremely well. The steamed bubs can be frozen fr 2-3 months. To freeze these buns, prepare and steam them as mentioned in the recipe. Let cool thoroughly.
Arrange the steamed buns on a tray and freeze for 2 hours. Once they are well frozen, transfer to a freezer bag and freeze.
How to reheat and serve frozen bao? Remove the required number of buns from the freezer. You can reheat them in a steamer for 4-5 minutes or until light and soft.
Do try out this super easy recipe and enjoy!
How To Make Bao or Steamed Buns
Make The Dough:
Combine flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder, salt in a bowl.
Add oil and mix well.
Add water gradually and knead into a soft yet a bit stiff dough. You can use your stand mixer and knead for 2-3 minutes or knead for 5 minutes by hand.
Let the dough proof for 45-60 minutes.
Shaping & Steaming Bao Buns
Once the dough has has doubled in volume punch slightly and knead for a minute.
Roll the dough into large circle of 1/5″ thickness.
Using a 4″ cutter, cut out small circles.
Fold each circle into half as shown.
Arrange in a steamer plate and steam for 5-6 minutes.
Once they are well steamed they puff up, looks a bit glossy and dry to touch.
Fill in with your favorite veggie or tofu preparation and serve warm.
I hope you will try this vegan bao buns recipe and enjoy as much as we did.
How To Make Bao Buns
- 3 cups plain flour/ all purpose flour 380 grams
- 1.5 teaspoon Instant or easy bake yeast 4 grams
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water add more if required for kneading
- Combine flour, yeast, sugar, baking powder, salt in a bowl.
- Add oil and mix well.
- Add water gradually and knead into a soft yet a bit stiff dough. You can use your stand mixer and knead for 2-3 minutes or knead for 5 minutes by hand.
- Let the dough proof for 45-60 minutes.
- Once the dough has has doubled in volume punch slightly and knead for a minute.
- Roll the dough into large circle of 1/5″ thickness.
- Using a 4″ cutter, cut out small circles.
- Fold each circle into half as shown.
- Arrange in a steamer plate and steam for 5-6 minutes.
- Once they are well steamed they puff up, looks a a bit glossy and dry to touch.
- Fill in with your favorite veggie or tofu preparation and serve warm.
- These bao buns taste best when eat hot. If you happen to make them ahead, keep them closed in the steamer itself and reheat for 2 minutes just before serving.
- I have olive oil here, you can use any oil or melted butter.