The dough I use to make Chinese steamed buns (Baozi) which can be filled with savoury (BBQ Pork) or sweet (bean paste) fillings.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 cup of the flour. Mix well with fork. Cover with clean cloth and allow to rise for about 1 hour.
With about 15 minutes to go in the rising hour, dissolve sugar and vegetable oil in the boiling water. Stir well and allow to cool until just warm.
Pour sugar, oil and water mixture into yeast mixture. Add remaining 3 1/2 cups flour. Mix well (mixer with dough hooks or strong spatula)
Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth. Coat a large bowl with a film of oil. Place the dough in the large bowl and roll around until the dough ball is coated with oil. Cover and let rise for about 2 hours or until doubled in size.
Set your steamer to boil around about now.
With an oiled knife, divide into two portions. Knead each portion until silky smooth (2 or 3 minutes) then roll into a "sausage" which should be about 30 cm long and 5 cm thick. Cover one roll with a cloth until you're ready for it.
With a lightly oiled knife, cut one roll into 12 portions (if you cut it in half, half again and then cut each quarter in three, you stand a better chance of getting even portions!)
Flatten each piece with the palm of your hand then roll with a rolling pin until about 80 to 100 cm wide.
Hold your left hand (if you're right handed) as if you were holding a drinking glass and lay a round of dough on top of your thumb and index finger. Press slightly in the gap to make an indentation. Fill with a heaped tablespoon of filling. Use your right thumb and forefinger to fold the edges into swirly indentations rotating the dough anti-clockwise on your left hand. If you are going to be really traditional, there should be an odd number of swirls between 7 and 21 to represent a chrysanthemum! Pinch the top well to seal. Place on individual squares of baking paper and cover with a clean cloth.
Allow to rise again until doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes.
Steam over rapidly boiling water for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
Start early! There is lots of rising time in this one.
Preparation time is mostly rising time, cooking time is for each batch and batch size depends on the size of your steamer.
Serving size would be two each as a course in a Chinese Banquet, or four each for a yummy lunch with dipping sauce and a salad.
In a hurry, I've started steaming the first batch after I've rolled and filled the first "sausage".
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