Momofuku's Pork Buns

By • April 28, 2014 72 Comments

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Author Notes: Adapted from Momofuku by David ChangMerrill Stubbs

Makes about 25 buns

Pork Belly and Quick-Pickled Cucumbers

  • 6 pounds skinless pork belly
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 thick Kirby cucumbers, cut into 1/8-inch-slices
  1. Put the pork belly in a roasting pan that holds it snugly, fat side up. Combine 1/2 cup salt and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl and rub all over the pork. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, and no longer than 24.
  2. Heat the oven to 450ºF. Discard any liquid that has accumulated in the roasting pan and put the pork belly in the oven. Cook for 1 hour, basting it with the rendered fat halfway through, until it's golden brown.
  3. Turn the oven temperature down to 250ºF and cook until the pork is tender, another 1 hour and 15 minutes or so. Transfer the pork to a plate, decant the fat and the meat juices from the pan and reserve it for the buns. Allow the pork to cool slightly.
  4. When it’s cool enough to handle, wrap the pork in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and put it in the fridge until it’s thoroughly chilled and firm. (You can skip this step if you’re pressed for time, but the only way to get neat, nice-looking slices is to chill the belly thoroughly before slicing it.)
  5. Combine the cucumbers with the remaining sugar and salt in a small mixing bowl and toss to coat. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Use right away or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  6. When you're ready to make the buns, cut the pork belly into 1/2-inch-slices about 2 inches long. Warm them in a pan over medium heat for a minute or two, until soft and heated through. Use the pork right away.

Pork Buns

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups bread flour
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, rounded
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup rendered pork fat, bacon fat or vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (green and white parts)
  • Sriracha, for serving
  1. Stir together the yeast and 1 1/2 cups room temperature water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the flour, sugar, milk powder, salt, baking powder, baking soda and fat and mix on the lowest speed setting for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should gather together into a ball on the hook. Lightly oil a large bowl and put the dough in it, turning it over to coat it with the oil. Cover the bowl with a dry kitchen towel and put it in a warm place and let the dough rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour 15 minutes.
  2. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a clean work surface. Using a sharp knife, divide the dough in half, then divide each half into 5 equal pieces. Gently roll the pieces into logs, then cut each log into 5 pieces, making 50 pieces total. They should be about the size of a Ping-Pong ball and weigh about 25 grams each. Roll each piece into a ball and set them on baking sheets. Cover them loosely with plastic wrap and let them rise for 30 minutes. While they're rising, cut out fifty 4-inch squares of parchment paper.
  3. After 30 minutes, use a rolling pin to roll each ball into a 4-inch-long oval. Brush lightly with vegetable oil, lay a chopstick horizontally across the center of the oval and fold the oval over onto itself to form a bun. Gently pull out the chopstick, leaving the bun folded, and transfer it to a square of parchment paper. Put it back under the plastic wrap and form the rest of the buns. Let the buns rest for 30 to 45 minutes: they will rise a little.
  4. Set up a steamer on top of the stove. Working in batches so you don’t crowd the steamer, steam the buns on the parchment squares for 10 minutes. Remove the parchment. You can use the buns immediately or allow them to cool completely, then put them in plastic freezer bags and freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat frozen buns in a stove top steamer for 2 to 3 minutes, until puffy, soft, and warmed all the way through. Freeze half the buns in airtight bags for another time.
  5. Open a warm bun and spread about 2 teaspoons of hoisin sauce on the inside. Add 2 pieces of pork belly, then a couple slices of pickle. Add a scattering of scallion and a squirt of sriracha if you like. Repeat with the remaining buns, and eat!

More Great Recipes: Pork|Snacks|Cucumbers|Bread

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Comments (72) Questions (3)

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5 days ago brothercadfael

shouldn't the meat come out of the marinade before roasting? that would help the over saltiness problem.

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17 days ago Sebastien Helary

I wrote a comment about the buns yesterday which didn't turn out great. Made the belly today and think I have some valuable feedback for anyone wishing to make this recipe. When the buns didn't turn out great, I made sure to read all the comments for this recipe and noticed that various people were mentioning the belly being too salty and overcooked. I was using a 2lb pork belly so this recipe would have called for 2.66 tbsp of salt and sugar. To make sure it wouldn't be too salty I did 2 tbsp of sugar and only 1 tbsp of salt. This turned out really great even though some of the bites from the outside of the belly sometimes bordered on being too salty. As for cooking time, I made sure to check on my belly every 10-15min and baste it each time. I wasn't sure if I should put the belly directly on the roasting pan or if I should use a rack. I opted for directly on the pan and after about 25min at 450 I noticed a strong sizzling sound. When I pulled the belly out of the oven, portions of the bottom had an overcooked black crust. I immediately turned down the oven to 250 and put the belly on a rack. Next time, I'll put it on a rack right away. So when this happened I scoured the net for more info and found that David Chang had published a new recipe on his Lucky Peach website (http://luckypeach.com/recipes...) which differed from this one. That recipe called for 30min at 450 and 1-2h at 275. So I cooked my belly for an additional 2h at 250. I think next time for a 2lb belly I'll do 1h30 because it was slightly breaking apart when I cut it into pieces even though I had chilled it in the fridge. In any case, here's my suggestion 1 tbsp of sugar and 0.5 tbsp of salt per pound of belly. Then 15 to 30min at 450 (until belly is nicely browned and golden on the outside) followed by 1 to 2h at 250 depending on size, all the while basting the meat every 15-20min. Hope this helps!

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18 days ago Sebastien Helary

Just made the buns. Didn't turn out great. They were too small, yellow and not as big, pillowy and fluffy as the ones I've seen in restaurants. If any one has a better recipe for the buns would love to know. Gonna make the belly tomorrow. Hope it goes better. Cheers!

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2 months ago Mihaela Lahav

Can I steam them in the microwave ? I don't have a steamer for the stove top but I have one for the microwave and I would like to try them.

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2 months ago Mike V

OMG. I had the opportunity to try some of Momofuku's boa's at the Noodle house. They are simply amazing!!!

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3 months ago I use a Replicator!

The oven times are all wrong. The skin came out way, way too hard as did the bottom. Next time I will cook at 450 for a 1/2 hour, then 1 1/2 hours at 250 to see how that works. The meat in the center was delicious but the skin and bottom were a waste.

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5 months ago Brenda Ruelas-Velasquez

What are we supposed to do with the decanted rendered fat? The recipe doesn't address how to use it. Also, I found the the pork belly too fatty, I'm reducing the salt by half and adding a little brown sugar. Update to come on the results.

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6 months ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

Making this again for St. Patrick's day. Subbing corned beef for the pork belly, and reducing salt a little. It came out great last year!

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8 months ago Lisa

Just made these amazing pockets of yum! I used my own charshiu recipe and left off the hoisin. Still very delicious!

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9 months ago Jackie

Can I make the dough ahead of time and steam them the day I plan on eating them?

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9 months ago RI

Did anyone else experience their bun turning a yellow tinge when steamed?

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10 months ago Matty823

I just made the buns today and they are soft and pillowy just like David Chang's restaurant! I didn't want to buy the huge box of dry milk so I added a little skim milk to the dry ingredients and stirred that before adding the yeast-shortening-water mixture. Still came out great!! Making the pork belly tonight and going to refrigerate it overnight and then assemble and eat these for tomorrow night's dinner!

Thanks for the recipe...none of my local stores carry premade Baozi buns.

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10 months ago Larry Cooper

This is next on my list, as I'm currently in work on another Pork Belly recipe here:
www.foodnwhine.com/2014...

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3 months ago Bruleau

Link does not open to recipe FYI.

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3 months ago Larry Cooper

Good day.
It looks like the website was updated somewhat to new layout. The URL now contains "blog" in the syntax...

Try this link instead;
http://www.foodnwhine.com...

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10 months ago swiml

Does anyone have an issue with the cooked pork belly being too tough? Will using a steam oven help it get more moist?

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11 months ago MLF

I just made this tonight and it was amazing! I found the cure to be a little too salty though - I would suggest to lessen the salt vs. sugar. Also added a dash of vinegar to my cucumbers to make it pickled. Delish!

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9 months ago Jen

FYI for those who found the pork cure too salty, David Chang washes off the rub before he puts the pork into the oven. This isn't mentioned in his cookbook but I noticed he did it in a video with Martha Stewart when making the pork buns. I make it this way every time, and it always comes out perfect. http://www.marthastewart...

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11 months ago MLF

I don't have dried milk powder and don't want to buy an entire box for just 3 Tbsp. Is there a replacement I can use, or is it safe to take it out of the recipe?

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11 months ago Detrishious

If you go to a bulk store you can buy as much as you need. I didn't think of that before I bought a box myself. Good thing it stores well :)

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about 1 year ago Suz

I have been searching for a good steamed bun recipe, thank you!

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about 1 year ago walkie74

I screwed up both the buns (the yeast died) and the pork belly (too much salt), but then tried a second time and everything went well. It took a while, but it was totally worth every minute. And the best part is, I didn't have to waste the pork belly-- my husband discovered that it made a fantastic substitute for bacon bits on his Caesar salad. He even started eating one of the buns by itself, with no belly. Great work, Merrill!

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about 1 year ago 3Fleets

This was quite a project but so worth it! Opening the steamer to those happy little buns, parchment waving at me in slo-mo.... I do have to say my husband thinks this recipe is part of my campaign to off him. Salty and fatty and good!

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about 1 year ago BH

I made these and will probably never make another bread/bun recipe again. The friends that I had over "freaked out" when they had these. I am a "bread-aholic" and I think that these are the one ..