Rose Shaped Steamed Buns/Mantou (玫瑰花饅頭)


Rose Shaped Mantous

My friend, Janet who loves to cook and bake, was nice to share her buns with me last week.  It was a lovely purple color as it was made with purple yam.  When food is turned into an art piece, it makes the food more appealing.  Since it tasted and looked so good, I decided to make some, but with carrot juice to get a bright orange color.

I posted a recipe for making the milk mantou 4 years ago, and I used that recipe for the white petals.  Both milk mantou and carrot juice mantou recipes are listed below (for a total of 24 pieces).

Ingredients for orange petals:

500g All purpose flour
300ml Carrot juice
35g Sugar
5g Yeast
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

Ingredients for white petals:

500g All purpose flour
300ml Fat free milk
35g Sugar
5g Yeast
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil

Directions:

You will need 3-4 carrots to get 300ml of carrot juice depending on the size of the carrots.

Carrot juice

  1.  Prepare all ingredients, one set for the orange petals and one set for the white petals.  Combine all ingredients for the orange petals in a mixing bowl, attach the dough hook and mix the ingredients with low speed.  Knead the dough until smooth (about 10 minutes).  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.  Repeat this step for the ingredients for the white petals (pictures 1, 2 and 3).
  2. During the 10-minute resting period, make sure to cover the container with plastic wrap.  (picture 4)
  3. Take the dough out, punch down with your hands to deflate, and cut into half.  Cover the second half with plastic wrap to keep it soft.  Roll out the dough and roll it tightly to form a log.  (picture 5)
  4. Cut the log into pieces and each piece should weigh about 20g.  Cover pieces with plastic wrap. (picture 6)
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the orange petals.  (picture 7)
  6. Roll each piece thinly like gyoza wrappers.  (picture 8)
  7. You will need 3 pieces of the orange dough and 3 pieces of the white dough, alternate the colors. (picture 9)
  8. Roll the dough up (roll from the right hand side) to form a small thick log.  (picture 10)
  9. Cut the rolled up dough in half from the center.  When you turn the dough up, you will see the pretty rose shape and shape the petals with your fingers.  (picture 11)
  10. Pour some cold water in the bottom of the steamer.   Place rose shaped buns in the steamer lined with parchment paper, cover and let the buns rise for 20 minutes.   Make sure to space out the buns (picture 12)
  11. After the final rise, boil water and steam the buns for 15 minutes until they are cooked and puffed.

steps

Mantou 1

P.S.  Don’t skip the final rise, otherwise the bun outer layer won’t be fluffy.

Advertisements

Green Onion Pancakes (Scallion Pancakes) 葱油餅


Green Onion Pancake

Whenever we visit a Chinese dumpling restaurant, we always order green onion pancakes.  When served hot, these flaky and savory pancakes are crispy outside, and chewy and soft inside.  Many people like them, even though they are not fond of green onions.  Most restaurants make good scallion pancakes, but occasionally we had some doughy and thick ones which my kids didn’t even touch.  If you never tried Green Onion Pancakes, just remember they are not pancakes at all as they are not made out of a batter.  They are more like crispy, multi-layered flat bread filled with green onions.

Ingredients: (Makes four 6” pancakes)

260g (2 Cups)
120 ml (½ Cup)*
50 ml (¼ Cup)*
2-3 stalks
All purpose flour
Boiling water
Room temperature water
Green onion (minced)
More flour for dusting

*  I used milligram (ML), it’s more accurate as 1/4 cup is about 60 ml, then the water amount is a little too much.

Ingredients for oil mixture:

2 Tbsp
1 tsp
3 Tbsp
All purpose flour
Salt
Cooking oil

Directions:

  1. Place 2 cups of flour in a mixing bowl, add ½ cup of boiling water, mix well.  Then add ¼ cup of room temperature water and mix well (when adding cold water, do not pour in all water at once, you will need to feel the dough when kneading.  It should not be too hard or too sticky) . (Picture 1)
  2. Knead the dough until the surface becomes smooth and is no longer sticky.  If the dough is too dry, add 1 Tbsp of water to the dough; if the dough is too wet, add a Tbsp of flour to the dough.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20-30 minutes.  (Picture 2)
  3. In the meantime, prepare green onions and oil mixture – Cut green onions into small pieces.  Set aside.  (Picture 3)
  4. Put 2 Tbsp. of flour, 1 tsp. of salt and 3 Tbsp. of cooking oil into a small bowl and mix well.  (Picture 4)
  5. Divide dough into 4 portions.  (Picture 5)
  6. Working with one dough ball at a time.  Place the dough ball on a lightly floured work surface and roll the dough to a thin disc with a rolling pin.  (Picture 6)
  7. Apply a thin layer of oil mixture to the disc.  (Picture 7)
  8. Sprinkle green onion to the disc but leave one edge open for sealing.  (Picture 8)
  9. Start to roll the dough into a cylinder.  (Picture 9)
  10. Flatten the log a little and coil it up like a sneak.  (Picture 10)
  11. Turn the dough so that the swirl side is facing up.  (Picture 11)
  12. Flatten the dough out with a rolling pin.  (Picture 12)
  13. Repeat steps 6-12 for the rest of the dough. 

green onion pancakes

  1. Now the dough is flattened, add a tablespoon of cooking oil into a skillet over medium heat.  (Picture A)
  2. Transfer the pancake dough onto the pan and cook until both sides are lightly brown (keep flipping the pancake).  (Picture B)
  3. Scrunch up the pancake a little bit by using serving tongs or two wooden spoons/turners.  (Picture C).  Serve immediately.

Green Onion Pancake

See how flaky the pancake is.  It’s crispy outside and soft inside.

Green onion pancake

Pizza


Pizza

It was Super Bowl night.   Super Bowl Sunday still holds the record for most pizza delivered in a single day.  Studies showed that 1.25 billion chicken wings would be consumed and 29 million slices were projected to sell on Super Bowl Sunday.  I’m not surprised as almost 95% of Americans planned to watch the Super Bowl.  Today, I joined the party (not to watch the game but make my own pizza)!  The pizza dough and pizza sauce were made from scratch.  The sauce recipe was adapted from KitchenTreaty and was made with fresh tomatoes.  I can taste its freshness.

Ingredients (Pizza sauce) (about 3 cups sauce):

1 Tbsp
4 cloves
1 tsp
2 pounds
1 tsp
1/2 tsp
Oil
Garlic (minced)
Dried oregano
Tomatoes
Brown sugar
Kosher salt
Black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Dice tomatoes and set aside (picture 1).
  2. In a medium sauce pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add minced garlic and cook until aromatic.  Add tomatoes, dried oregano, sugar, salt and black pepper.  Keep stirring (picture 2).
  3. Leave over medium heat, stir occasionally, until boiling.  Reduce heat to low and simmer UNCOVERED for 45 minutes or until sauce is thickened (picture 3).
  4. Allow the sauce to cool and blend the sauce in a food processer (picture 4).
  5. Pour sauce into a bowl and let it cool (picture 5).

Pizza Sauce

Pizza sauce

Ingredients (Pizza dough) (make about 5 small pizzas):

2 tsps
1 cup
3 cups
1 1/4 Tbsp (4 tsps.)
2 tsps
1 1/4 Tbsp (4 tsps.)
Active dry yeast
Warm water
Bread flour
Sugar
Salt
Olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients (except dry yeast) inside the pan in the breadmaker.  Fill the yeast dispenser with dry yeast (usually it is on the top of the breadmaker).  Select the “Pizza dough” mode (refer to manual of your breadmaker to select the dough program).  After the kneading process, allow the dough to rise in the breadmaker for about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.
  2. Deflate the dough, bunch it back and divide it into 5 pieces – You can use the dough at this point, but for a finer and nicer texture, after deflating and punching the dough, roll it into a ball and put it back into an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.  About 2 hours before you are going to make your pizza, remove the dough from the fridge, deflate again, and split into 5 equal portions.  Roll each portion into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.  Let them sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Assembling Pizzas:

Ingredients (pizza toppings):

Pepperoni, thinly sliced
Italian sausages, cook ahead
Mushrooms, thinly sliced
Red onion, thinly sliced
Yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
Red bell pepper, thinly sliced
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Mild cheddar cheese, shredded
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
Cornmeal (to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone)

** I made my pizzas with the above ingredients, of course you can add anything you want to your pizza, such as ham, BBQ chicken, even Kimchi.

Directions:

  1. In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Add red onion and cook until it is slightly tender.  Transfer onion to a paper towel-lined plate.  (Picture 1)
  2. In the same pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon oil.   Add the bell peppers, stirring frequently, until just softened.  Transfer the peppers to the same paper towel-lined plate.  (Picture 2)
  3. Now warm 1 tablespoon oil.  Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook (stirring occasionally) until softened.  Transfer the mushrooms to the plate with the peppers and onion.

Pizza

  1. Preheat oven to 500 ºF and heat up the baking stone (or baking pan) in the oven.
  2. Using a rolling pin to roll out your dough ball, flatten disc into an 8-inch circle.  If you don’t know how to shape your pizza dough by tossing it in the air, simply start at the center and work outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick.  Stretch the dough until it will not stretch further.  (picture 1)
  3. Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel with corn meal.  Transfer one prepared flattened dough to the pizza peel.  If the dough has lost its shape in the transfer, lightly shape it to the desired dimensions.  (picture 2)
  4. Top dough with a layer of sauce.  (picture 3)
  5. Then sprinkle with cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza, sprinkle more cheese on top at the end.  (picture 4)
  6. Slide the pizza off of the peel and on to the baking stone in the oven.  Bake pizza one at a time until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10 minutes. (picture 5)
  7. You can use the pizza peel or a stainless steel spatula to remove the pizza from the pizza stone.  Serve immediately (picture 6)
  • pizza

Pineapple Bun (Bo Lo Bao 菠蘿包)


Pineapple Buns

For years I had no idea why this bun was named “Pineapple Bun” 菠蘿包 as it contains no pineapple.  Instead, the name comes from its appearance where the sugary/buttery crust resembles a pineapple.  The traditional crust of the bun is made of lard, but this recipe (original recipe from Christine Ho) substitutes lard with butter for a slightly healthier version.  Everyone knows what is a Bo Lo Bao in Hong Kong.  It is very popular, and commonly found in bakeries, just like muffins and bagels in the States.  We eat it for breakfast (plain), lunch (with meat filling) or dessert (with custard or shredded coconut filling).  The plain one is still one of my favorite bakery items! If you ever get a chance to visit Hong Kong, pineapple buns are a must try item so make sure you grab one at the bakery.

Ingredients for Bread:

350 gm
70 gm
4 gm
56 gm
10 gm
6 gm
120 gm
125 ml
30 gm
Bread flour (高筋粉)
Caster sugar (幼砂糖)
Salt (鹽)
Whisked egg  (全蛋汁)
Milk powder  (奶粉)
Instant dry yeast  (即發乾酵母)
Tangzhong  (湯種) (recipe here)
Milk  (牛奶)
Unsalted Butter, softened  (無鹽牛油)

Ingredients for Topping:

188 gm
83 gm
60 gm
11 gm

1½ Tbsp
1½ tsp
¼ tsp
a bit > ¼ tsp
Cake flour  (低筋粉)
Caster sugar    (幼砂糖)
Butter, softened    (無鹽牛油)
Milk powder    (奶粉)
Egg yolk  (蛋黃)
Evaporated milk    (淡奶)
Condensed milk    (煉奶)
Edible ammonia powder  (食用臭粉) – Optional
Baking powder    (發粉)

Directions:

To make topping:

  1. Cream softened butter with an electric mixer over medium speed until smooth. Add sugar and continue to beat until fluffy.
  2. Add milk powder, egg yolk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, baking powder, combine well.  Sift in flour and ammonia powder (optional) and incorporate well. The mixture is quite moist and sticky. Use a piece of cling wrap to roll into several small logs. Chill for 30 to 40 minutes. When it becomes harder, it’s ready to use and shape it.

*  Keep the extra egg yolk and egg white for egg wash.

To make buns:

  1. Place all ingredients inside the pan in the breadmaker, the wet ingredients first, then followed by the dry ingredients: tangzhong (recipe here), milk, whisked egg, sugar, salt, milk powder and flour.  Fill the yeast dispenser with dry yeast (usually it is on the top of the breadmaker).
  2. Select the “dough” mode (refer to the manual of your breadmaker to select the dough program).  When all ingredients are combined, add butter.  The kneading process in the breadmaker is usually about 30 minutes, and the proofing time is about an hour (depending on the machine).
  3. When the first round of proofing is finished, transfer the dough to a clean floured surface and deflate the dough (Picture 1).
  4. Divide into 12 equal portions and roll each portion into a ball (Picture 2).  Place dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Let them complete the 2nd round of proofing until nearly doubled (if weather is too cold, you can proof at 90◦F in an oven with a pot of boiling water for 30 to 50 minutes.  The water will keep the humidity at certain level).
  5. When the dough portions are doubled in size, preheat oven to 410°F.  Remove topping paste from fridge, cut into 12 equal portions and roll in balls.  Roll each portion into a flat disc (Picture 3).
  6. Place the topping paste on top of dough.  Repeat this step with the remainder (Picture 4).
  7. Brush the top with whisked egg yolk and bake in a preheated oven for 5 minutes (Pictures 5 and 6).  Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for another 10 minutes.

Pineapple buns

Notes:

  • If you do not have a breadmaker, you can knead the dough with your hands.  Make a well in the center of the flour, whisk and combine all wet ingredients, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. When all ingredients are combined, knead in the softened butter.  The dough is quite sticky and messy at this stage.  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. Shape dough into a ball.  Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it’s doubled in size, about 40 minutes.
  • Ammonia powder is quite hard to work with and not easy to find.  If use too little, you’d be disappointed with the patterns appear on the topping (no crackling patterns).  If use too much, your buns will smell weird.  So, this ingredient can be omitted.  Instead, you can use a sharp knife to make criss crosses, like a checkboard across the top of the topping.
  • Ammonia powder can be replaced by ¼ tsp baking soda.

Bo Lo Bao

Rosemary, Roasted Garlic and Lemon No-Knead Bread in Dutch Oven


Rosemary, Roasted Garlic and Lemon No-Knead Bread in Dutch Oven

Over-kneaded dough tends to turn the loaves tough and chewy, and under kneaded-dough will make the loaves flat and dense in texture.  To get a loaf of light and fluffy bread, practice is important.  Of course if you use a bread machine to knead your dough, you will never over knead it.   Baking bread is really all about technique, I neither practiced nor read enough.  So I chose the no-knead version.  Is this cheating?  Not really, it’s just another way to make your bread and it’s effortless :-).  All you need to do is to plan ahead of time as this bread needs at least 12-18 hours to rise.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

Ingreditents:

3 cups
¼ teaspoon
1¾ teaspoons
2 teaspoons
6 cloves
2 teaspoons
Cornmeal as needed
All-purpose flour
Active dry yeast
Salt
Chopped fresh rosemary
Roasted garlic (roughly chopped)
Chopped lemon zest

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, salt, rosemary, roasted garlic and lemon zest.  Add 1 5/8 cups water and stir until blended; the dough will be shaggy and very sticky.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.  Let the dough rest at warm room temperature (about 70°F) until the surface is dotted with bubbles, 12 to 18 hours.
  2. Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and fold the dough over onto itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Using just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your fingers, gently and quickly shape the dough into a ball.  Generously coat a cotton towel, preferably a flour sack towel (not terry cloth), with cornmeal. Put the dough, seam side down, on the towel and dust with more flour or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise until the dough is more than double in size and does not readily spring back when poked with a finger, about 2 hours.
  4. At least 30 minutes before the dough is ready, put a 2 3/4-quart cast-iron pot in the oven and preheat the oven to 450°F.
  5. Carefully remove the pot from the oven. Slide your hand under the towel and turn the dough over, seam side up, into the pot; it may look like a mess, but that is OK. Shake the pan once or twice if the dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with the lid and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the loaf is browned, 15 to 30 minutes more.
  6. Transfer the pot to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.  Using oven mitts, turn the pot on its side and gently turn the bread; it will release easily. Makes one 1 1/2-lb. loaf.

Mantou (Chinese Steamed Buns) 饅頭


Mantou (Chinese Steamed Buns)

Mantou are originating from Northern China.  These buns are soft and fluffy in texture, pretty plain in taste, not sure if everyone will like it but I’m a big fan.  I like to eat them fresh straight after steaming (plain) or deep fry them.  You can also give it a little sweet flavor by dipping in condensed milk.

Ingredients:

5g
300 ml
500g
35g
1 tbsp
Instant dried yeast
Milk (or water)
All purpose flour
Caster sugar
Vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve dried yeast in warm water.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl, attach the dough hook and mix the ingredients with low speed.  Knead the dough until it’s smooth, around 10 minutes.  Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
  3. Dust a clean work surface lightly with flour, roll out the dough to a 25” x 6” rectangle.  Fold it into thirds and roll it out again to approx. 17” x 10” rectangle.  Brush the surface with water.
  4. Roll the dough tightly from the longer edge to form a log.  Cut the log into half and cut out 4 even pieces from each log.
  5. Prepare 8 square pieces of parchment paper, slightly larger than the bun.  Put parchment paper under each bun.
  6. Place buns in a large steamer (most steamers have multi layers), pour some cold water in the bottom of the steamer, cover and let the buns rise for 20 minutes.
  7. After the final rise, steam the buns for 20 minutes until they are cooked and puffed.
  8. If not eaten immediately, they can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.  Reheat them in a steamer for 5 minutes after removing them from the freezer.