Baked Bao Buns Recipe (Kao Baozi) (新疆烤包子)
- 450 g 1 lb of high gluten flour
- 1 egg to add to the flour
- 160 grams 5.6 oz of water
- 1 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp of room temperature butter
- Sesame seeds as garnish
- 1 egg to brush the buns before baking
- some salted water 1 cup of water +1/2 tsp of salt to apply on the wrapper
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 piece of scallion diced
- 1 tbsp of ginger
- 1 tbsp of Sichuan peppercorns
- 1 piece of star anise
- 680 grams 1.5 lb of lamb meat (preferably 20% fat ratio)
- 1.5 tsp of cooking oil
- 57 grams 2 oz of lamb fat (seasoned with star anise, cinnamon, bay leaves, dried galangal)
- 400 grams 14 oz of diced sweet onion
- 1 tbsp of minced garlic
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp of cumin powder
- 2 tsp of cumin seeds
- 2.5 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1/2 cup of aromatic water
INGREDIENTS FOR THE WRAPPER
INGREDIENTS FOR THE AROMATIC WATER
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FILLING
In a small bowl, add the diced scallion, diced ginger, 1 tbsp of Sichuan peppercorns, 1 piece of star anise, 1/2 cup of water. Stir it and let this sit for 1 hour. Drain it. Save the liquid. Discard the spices and the aromatics.
- Dice 1.5 lb of lamb meat and 2 oz of lamb fat. Dice 400 grams of sweet onions.
- Get your wok ready. Drizzle in 1.5 tsp of oil along with the lamb fat. Stir it on low heat for a minute or 2. When you see there is some oil appearing, throw in some spices - 1 piece of star anise, 1 piece of dried galanga, 2 bay leaves, and 1 stick of cinnamon. The purpose here is to season the oil, we want the flavor of the spices. Keep adding half of the diced onions(200 grams). We will save the other half to add it to the filling. Stir the onions on low heat. We want to caramelize it to develop some nice flavor. This gonna take 10 minutes or so. When the onion becomes golden brown like that, turn off the heat. Put everything in a bowl. Take out the spices and set it aside.
- In a big mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients: 680 grams of diced lamb meat, 1 tbsp of minced garlic, 2 tbsp of cumin powder, 2 tsp of toasted cumin seeds, 2.5 tsp of salt, 2 tbsp of soy sauce, some black pepper to taste. Mix this first until everything is well combined. Then pour in the aromatic water in batches. Stir the filling within one direction until the meat absorbs the liquid. Add the second batch, stir it again. Keep doing this until all the liquid is gone. Add the rest of the ingredients - half of the diced sweet onion and the lamb fat fried onion. Mix until well combined. Just a little note here, the onions I used are very sweet and juicy. If you switch to red onion, you probably need to add a tsp of sugar and a couple more tbsp of that aromatic water to achieve a similar taste and texture. Set the filling in the fridge.
- Make the wrapper. In the KitchenAid mixing bowl, add 450 grams of high gluten flour, 1 tsp of salt, one egg, 160 grams of room temperature water. Get a spatula and give this a premix before we run the machine.
- Use speed level 4 or 5. Let it run for 8-10 minutes or until all flour has formed into a dough. What you are looking for is something that is medium soft and non-stick.
- Add 2 tbsp of room temperature butter. Increase the speed to 6 or 7 and keep beating this until the butter is well mixed. It will take another 12 minutes. Xin Jiang people will use lamb fat here. I can’t get enough fat from the lamb leg that bought. So I went with the butter. If you have access and time, ask your butcher for some trim. Render the fat yourself. I think it will make a difference.
- Take the dough out. Knead it on the working surface. Make it into a beautiful, round, smooth dough. Wrap it with plastic film and let it sit 30 minutes.
- 30 minutes later, coat the dough surface with more flour to prevent stickiness. Divide it into 16 even pieces. You can use a scale if you want. That way your buns will come with the same size. I just go with my eyes.
- Take 1 piece of dough. Stretchy it and tug it under until there is a smooth top surface appearing. Roll this in your hand. Make it nice and round. Keep doing that until you finish the rest pieces. Make sure you cover them with the plastic film so they don’t get dry.
- Now we will roll each of them into wrappers. Cover the little ball with lots of flour. Flatten it with your hand. Get a rolling pin. Your right-hand push the pin back and forth. The left-hand holds and turns the sheet as you are rolling it. Just like how you will make dumpling wrappers except this one is much bigger. The diameter is about 6 inches long. If you point it to the light, you should see that it has a thick middle and thinner edge.
- Next, is the folding. Just place your wrapper on the table. Wet your hand with some clean water. Apply the water lightly on one side of the sheet. This will help to seal the buns completely. Grab some filling. About 2.5 ounces. The folding is simple. It is like an envelope; gently push out as much air as possible. Make sure it is sealed well. Dust more flour on the bottom of the buns so it doesn’t stick to the pan.
- Crack one egg. Whisk it until you can not pick up any obvious egg white. We gonna brush this on to the egg. It will create a shiny golden color and give you that desired look after baking.
- Last, sprinkle some sesame seed and you are ready to bake them. To create that crusty bottom, you will need a pizza stone. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a big cast iron skillet, it will also help you to achieve the crusty skin. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Gently take one, wet your hand with some salted water, apply the water on the bottom of the bun quickly put it in the oven. You want to do this step as fast as possible. The oven is open, you are losing the heat as you are putting the buns in. Also, be careful, the pizza stone is hot, don’t burn your finger.
- 450 F, bake it for 12-15 minutes or until the buns turn into a golden brown color. Pull it out, enjoy!