Thursday, December 18, 2008

馒头 (Mantou or Chinese Steamed Bun)

I used to think that the only difference between chinese bun and western bread is the steam vs bake. Big wrong assumption! No wonder when I used my usual bread to make bun (by steaming), the bun (or steam bread) turned out rock hard. Haha.

Bread uses high protein flour while bun uses low protein flour. So much I understand at this point, sorry.

But that didn't stop me from trying out Gina's Mantou recipe, from Kitchen Capers. I put in my method of making this without a bread machine.

Pardon the blur photo cos I made this at night and the lighting ain't ideal for photo.

250ml water
500g HK Flour (I used all purpose flour)
100g castor sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp yeast

1. Put the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl. And mix well before adding the water.
2. Mix with a spatula until a dough is form.
3. Put on a lightly flour worktop and knead until smooth.
4. I left it to rest for 30min though I am not sure if this step is necessary.
5. Flatten the dough and divide it into equal pieces.
6. I flatten the pieces then roll it up like swiss roll. Set aside to proof for another 30 mins.
7. Steam over high heat for 8 mins.
8. Serve warm.

Baking Notes:

  • I do not have HK flour, so I use the unbleached plain flour. That's why my mantou ain't white like those you buy from outside.
  • It is soft and fluffy when warm, though not as fluffy as bread. I said this to manage expectation :-)

Anyway, this is much easier to make... less time consuming compare to the bread which must knead till thin membrane stage.


Art of Eating said...

I like Mantou too, haven't give this bake a try yet.

The preparation time is so much shorter as compared to bread making 3-3 1/2 hrs huh.

Cookie said...

Prep time is certainly shorter. You have a BM right? You can see Gina's recipe for the steps using BM.

But I am still researching how to make this better. It is quite hard when cool... which shouldn't be the case.

Most of the sites/blog that carry the chinese bun are written in chinese... read until I see stars and still half understood only =p

If you indeed bake this, pls tell me how it go.

Cookie said...

Sorry Gina... my uncoordinated fingers "rejected" all comments when I meant to "publish"... And trying to "reconstitute" the comments now:
gina has left a new comment on your post "馒头 (Mantou or Chinese Steamed Bun)":

cookie, it will be hard only if you use plain flour. If you use Hong kong flour, its super soft. This recipe was taken from a Taiwan cookbook. took me some time to decipher it! I have just finish my pineapple juice 'mian zhong'. Hopefully, next week can try my luck baking a loaf of bread with it. no yeast, all natural. :)

Thanks Gina, I will certainly try to make with HK flour tonight... if my energy is up to it :-) This is something I often struggle after a long day at work!

Can I also check
1) if the proofing time affect the texture? Usually the chinese bun call for 30 min proofing. Will extra hour make it fluffier?
2) can we use bread soft/bread improver in the chinese bun to make it softer?

I look forward to reading all about your "mian zhong" soon.