So I’ve been trying to find the perfect recipe for char siu bao. I have tried many, many different recipes and have tweaked each one to get it perfect. I really don’t know what the secret is but I think this recipe I have comes pretty close. They are nice and fluffy right out of the steamer and even after they’ve cooled down, it’s still good.
I’ve come across recipes that don’t require a starter and some that only take about an hour of rise time but those never come out quite fluffy enough. This is not an easy task, it takes about a couple of days because there are two rises to it. I recommend making these when you have time, like during the weekend.
Make Starter Dough:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/8 c sugar
11 oz warm water
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon shortening
Mix everything together in a mixer and mix it until dough becomes smooth and elastic. I used a kitchen aid mixer and mixed it for about 20 minutes. Put the dough in a warm, draft free place until it double in size, about 3 hours or so.
After starter have doubled in size, divide into 4 oz dough and leave in fridge overnight.
4 oz starter dough
3/4 cup water
2 cups flour
Dissolve the 4 oz starter dough with water and mix in 2 cups of flour. knead the dough until everything is incorporated. Place the dough in a bowl and let it double in size, about 8 hours or overnight.
All of the start dough from part 2
1 tablespoon baking powder
140 g sugar (2/3 cup)
2 tablespoon shortening
3/4 cup water
2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup cake flour
Mix everything together until smooth and elastic, dough will be a bit sticky, add a bit more flour if it is too hard to handle.
Shape into balls if not using filling and let it rise a bit more, about two hours or so.
Get the steamer ready and once the water is boiling, place the steamer in the pot and steam for 10 minutes.
If you add a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar in the water, the baos will come out whiter.