Siopao anyone? I just made my very own small batch homemade Siopao, and they were so good! I don’t know why it took me so long to make this.
For those of you who do not know what Siopao is, it’s a steamed buns with filling. This is most common in Asian countries, like Philippines where I am originally from. They are normally filled with meat balls or savory shredded meat and to make it extra special, a sliced of hard-boiled egg is also stuffed inside the buns. The most common variation we have in the Philippines, and even here in Asian stores in Canada are “Asado” (Shredded Pork) and “Bola-Bola” (Meatballs). They are sold mostly in Asian stores, either ready to eat or frozen.
The dough of the bread is different from traditional bread, and this is because the bun is steamed, not baked. They have a very soft texture and white in color. I love eating it on its own often time for snack, and it also goes well with hot noodles specially on a cold rainy day. They are a perfect combination that brings back memories of my home.
The good news is, it is not difficult to make, which means I can make them just as I make my regular bread. This recipe is small batch and the steamed buns can be kept in the freezer, although I doubt that you will have any leftover after you ate it. After all, its is a small batch. That’s the beauty of this recipe, perfect portion and you get to enjoy it freshly made. I wouldn’t judge you though if you double the recipe to make more. It’s totally worth it. Let’s get started!
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp lukewarm water (110F. If you do not have thermometer, microwave tap water for 20 seconds).
- 1 1/4 tsp active yeast
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp sugar (divided: 2 tbsp for flour mixture, 1 tsp for yeast mixture)
- 1 tbsp canola oil or any flavorless oil plus extra 1/2 tsp for greasing a large bowl
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Braised Meat (Asado) Filling or BBQ Pulled Chicken Filling
Note: If you are using instant yeast (the granules will be finer), you can skip the “blooming” process of the yeast (step 1). Just mix the instant yeast to the dry ingredients just don’t put the yeast close to the salt.
- Mix water, yeast and 1 tsp sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes until it becomes foamy and it starts to bubble, then add 1 tbsp oil and stir.
- Mix flour, 2 tbsp sugar and baking powder.
- Manual Kneading: Transfer the flour in your working counter or large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour activated yeast and knead until it forms into a soft dough. If the dough is still dry and loose, add 1-2 tbsp of water and continue kneading about 5 – 10 minutes or until it forms into a ball.
- Stand Mixer: This step can also be done using stand mixer. If you decide to use stand mixer, put the wet ingredients into the stand mixer bowl. Once yeast is ready, add 1 1/4 cup of flour, set aside 1/4 cup for later. In medium speed, slowly mix the dough. At this stage you could already tell if the dough will need more water before you add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour. Add 1 tbsp of water at a time until it forms into a soft dough. Do not wait at the very end before you add the additional water as it will be difficult for the dough to absorb it. I sometimes add about 1-2 tbsp more, depending on the brand of flour I used.
- God to know: Some flour are drier than the others and thus will require more liquid. Also, the age of the flour could also affect the amount of liquid that you need. An older flour is drier and will require more liquid.
- Spray or grease the inside of a large bowl with oil. Make sure to use a large bowl to allow room for the dough to rise. Cover with warm towel and leave in warm place for 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size.
- To help the dough rise better, I put it inside the oven which I pre-heated to 110F. Once it reached the 110F, I stopped/canceled it. DO NOT forget to stop it, you only want the oven to warm up for the dough to rise, you do not want to dough to be baked. Some oven has a proofing setting, mine doesn’t, so this is my trick.
- Remove dough from the bowl and punch or press it to remove the air. Knead for 1-2 minutes until smooth again. At this point, you now have a Siopao dough ready for use.
Makes 4 – 5 pieces
- Cut square size of parchment paper to line bottom of each portion.
- Divide into dough into 4-5 equal portions. I use my kitchen scale to do this, If you do not have one, just estimate the size manually.
- Roll the dough into your palm, then flatten it to form a disc. Do this for all the dough portions.
- Fill each dough with filling of your choice. Brush the edges of the dough with water. Pull the edges of the dough towards the center, moving around until all edges are sealed on top. Pinch the top to seal and secure the filling from sticking out when the dough expands.
- Cover with warm tea towel and set aside in a warm place for another 1/2 hour or until it starts to rise and stretch. At this point, the texture will be smooth and the size will be bigger and expanded.
- Steam buns for 15-20 minutes. Do not over crowd the steamer. If you do not have a steamer like me, use a wide pan and pour water in it. Then put a wire rack and place the Siopao on top. Cover and steam.
Cooked buns can be frozen. Steam or microwave when ready to eat.
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