Until I went to college, I didn’t have much experience with Asian cuisine, past pretty basic teriyaki. Then I moved to a much bigger city, with a much more diverse group of people, and all the sudden Asian cusine was everywhere. But even though I’ve started eating and enjoying this fabulous food, the concept of trying to make it myself is still very daunting. So this month, when the Daring Bakers’ told us we were going to be making Siopao, a yeasted bun full of savory/sweet fillings that hails from the Orient, I was a little nervous.
The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough, and surprisingly the buns actually are quite easy and simple to make. The hardest part is going to be budgeting time – the recipe has two 1-hour rise times, and you have to mix up the dough and fill each bun, so schedule 3.5-4 hours to be safe and sure that you’ll have time to finish these guys. Be creative with your fillings too – you can look up traditional fillings or go with what you have in your kitchen. I stuffed most of mine with a pulled pork that I’d made for dinner the night before (super simple, put a pork loin, 1 chopped onion, a few diced cloves of garlic, and a bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce in a crockpot on low for a full day or overnight, shred with a fork and cook on high for another hour with the lid off until the sauce has thickened up), and put a chocolate hazelnut mix in the others for a sweet version. I encourage you to try it with your favorite meats or jams for savory and sweet versions.
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups flour
1 egg beaten (for an egg wash)
Putting it together:
1. Mix all of the ingredients EXCEPT the flour and the egg together in a bowl.
2. Add the flour a little at a time making sure to mix well between additions. You want the dough to form a tacky dough, but you don’t want it to be wet or super sticky. My dough only needed 4 cups, yours may need a little more.
3. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and set somewhere warm to rise for 1 hour.
4. Turn the risen dough out onto a floured service. Fold over several times until you have a nice smooth dough.
5. Cut the dough into 12 pieces.
6. Shape each piece into a 6 inch disc and fill with a heaping spoonful of your filling.
7. Pinch the dough closed over the filling. It is really important to make sure you get the dough pinched together really well and that there are no holes.
8. Place the buns on a tray covered in parchment paper.
9. Once you’ve finished filling all of the buns cover then back up in plastic wrap and place somewhere warm for another hour to rise.
10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
11. Brush the buns with the beaten egg.
12. Bake for 20 minutes, until they’re golden on top.
13. Try not to burn your tongue on them fresh out of the oven.
Congrats you’ve made Siopao buns!
Tip – because these are completely contained, they travel really well. They are also much better warm than cold, so if you’re keeping them for a while toss one in the microwave for 30 seconds before enjoying.