Prep time: 2 hours, 15 minutes plus rising time
Cook time: 25 minutes
Makes 8 large or 12 medium-size steamed buns
This recipe is unique in that it is a biscuit and yeast bun all-in-one. It has the lightness and simplicity of a biscuit while also having the smell and glutinous texture of a yeast bun. This once-secret Chinese recipe will satisfy both types of bread lovers.
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water, divided use
3 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted, divided use
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon shortening
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of lukewarm water in a bowl; then add 1/2 cup flour to the yeast water. Mix well. Cover, but do not let the cover touch the dough. Keep in a warm place for 15 minutes.
Mix granulated sugar, 1 cup of the flour and 1/2 cup water, add to the yeast dough and mix thoroughly. Cover, but do not let the cover touch the dough. Keep in a warm place for 2 hours or until the dough doubles in size.
In a big mixing bowl, thoroughly mix remaining flour with baking powder; then knead into the doubled yeast dough.
Gradually add shortening and remaining 1/4 cup water, kneading on a lightly floured surface until dough pulls back and is well mixed. Put dough in a bowl and cover, but do not allow cover to touch the dough. Keep in a warm area for about 2 hours or until dough almost doubles in size.
Punch down, knead 5 minutes and roll the dough into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Cut dough log into 8 equal sections and roll them into balls. With a small rolling pin, roll balls out into flat discs about 1/2 inch thick.
Spoon 2 tablespoons of char siu filling (recipe at right) into the center of the dough circles and close by stretching together sides or use dim sum pleating technique (ask a Chinese cook).
Put stuffed buns on parchment paper and let them rest in warm place for 30 minutes.
Transfer buns into a steamer and steam for 25 minutes.