This fail proof bao/bun recipe is what you need! Filled with a Chinese style custard known as Nai Wong, this is an absolute crowd favourite! Especially since it's so easy to carry around and pockets of creamy custard with light fluffy bao with every bite.
Prep time: 1 1/2 to 2 hours
Shaping & Baking time: 30-45 mins
What you need to make 12 medium-sized baos
Use proportions for the flour, matcha, sugar, salt, oil and starch but proper measurements for the yeast, water and milk
- 2 tsp (8-10g) instant dry yeast (Angel brand)
- ½ cup + 1 tsp (130-135 ml) warm water
- ¼ c (62.5ml) milk
- 2 cups low protein /plain flour
- 1 Tbsp Thea Premium Matcha (alter to your taste)
- 1 cup wheat/potato starch
- 5 Tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/4 cup canola/neutral oil
Vanilla Egg & Pumpkin Custard
Weigh out accurately
- 55g starch
- 50 g sugar
- 100 ml whole milk
- 1.5 Tbsp condensed milk
- 1.5 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste / 1 tsp vanilla pod beans (do not use essence or extract)
- 1.5 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 50-100g roasted or steamed pumpkin of choice or leave out - adding this just means bigger filling / apportion as you like !
- More butter/sugar to taste
Extra flour for dusting / shaping of baos
Large work surface
Mixing bowls - dough and custard
Bain Marie set up - pot and bowl that is okay over a rolling boil
Steamers and or Wok - must have
Chopsticks/wooden spoon to mix
- Add dough ingredients together (note: leave yeast, 1tbsp sugar and the water to activate first before adding), knead well - at least 10mins and then leave to prove in a nice warm space for about an hour.
- In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs. Combine sugar and starch into a medium bowl able to set over a Bain Marie.
- Over your Bain Marie or on a very low heat in a saucepan, slowly add in the milk and condensed milk mix to your sugar starch mix, whisking to ensure everything is incorporated each time
- Once everything is incorporated (only about 30secs) add in your beaten eggs slowly incorporating each time with a whisk. Add ½ of your butter and your vanilla paste/beans, continuously whisk for about a minute, then switch to a spatula and constantly move your mixture to ensure even cooking.
- Once thickened/heated through about 5-8mins, take off heat and add in the rest of your butter until smooth and fluffy. Fold over until it’s a smooth thick paste. More butter/sugar to taste.
- Add in your steamed/roasted pumpkin or starchy vege if choice. Make sure there isn't much moisture (you can wring out the water if necessary) and incorporate into your custard.
- Leave to cool and shape into 12 balls ready for your dough
- Once your dough has proven.. Punch down your dough, knead it again, pressing firmly with your rolling pin to take out any air bubbles - popping them /pushing into them to get rid of them as you go.
- Shape dough into a log creating 12 equal pieces - around 1in long and wide.
- Flatten on the side which has been cut, flatten to a wider circle with your dowel until it's about 8-10 cm (3-4in).
- Using your dowel, moving towards the centre of your dough to create a thinner edge all along, add your custard ball to the centre and pleat around the custard until you enclose it! (Feel free to skip this if it's too difficult but there are so many videos out there that can teach you - ours, hopefully on the way soon)
- Note : If you cannot pleat to close it, I also just close my hands around and pinch the edges at the bottom. Then roll the dough on your work surface to even it out and place on the closed seam side to ensure it doesn't break open.
- Steam for 12 -15 minutes over a high rolling boil, timing after you start to see the steam coming out of your steamer.
- If it’s a hot day, look for your dough to have risen by half (i.e. 1.5x) or at least doubles in size if it’s colder day.
- The thinner edges makes your bao more even when you close it up leave for a second prove 10-20 mins.
- Steamer and baos should not touch water - only want them to be cooked by the steam not boiled by water!
- Use this recipe to your liking - use the bao for something else/just as bread or change the filling - meat? vegan? up to you!
- If your bao is a bit dry when sealing up your custard, just run some water on the edges to help it bind.
This recipe has been tried and tested many many times by the Thea girls.
With thanks and inspiration China Sichuan Food's Custard bun recipe