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babytiger
added about 4 years ago

I've ran into the same issue before. One recipe came out really lumpy. The buns were eatable, but not very pretty. I tried another recipe and it came out just fine. All I can suggest is that you give a different recipe a try.

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HalfPint
HalfPint

HalfPint is a trusted home cook.

added about 4 years ago

I think you have to knead it about 5-10 minutes and then let it rest for an hour or two. I find that overkneaded dough needs to rest for a bit to relax the gluten.

What recipe are you using?

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Andrea Nguyen
Andrea Nguyen

Andrea is a cooking teacher, food writer, contributing editor at Rodale's Organic Life, and a cookbook author; her latest book is The Banh Mi Handbook.

added about 4 years ago

Dough for Chinese-style steamed buns can seem dryish your first time out but it should not be tough. After all, you have to manipulate it into a filled bun! You could moisten your hands with water and knead the moisture into the dough but that's may not do much.

With the basic steamed bun dough that I developed for the "Asian Dumplings" cookbook, there's a 45 to 60 minute first rise, then you fill and shape the buns, rise again for roughly 30 minutes before cooking. The recipe you're using may have hedged on less water because of the steam heat cooking. If it's a good Chinese bao dough, it should be pliable and very active -- e.g. you can practically witness its rise as it sits. Plus, it should be able to endure steaming and panfrying (oil and water in a skillet).

If you're using fancy flour like King Arthur, switch to a softer flour. I suggest to my readers and students to use an all-purpose flour with a moderate amount of gluten. Gold Medal works great; I think Whole Foods' brand would too. You get the idea. Go unbleached for savory buns. Use bleached flour for more tender buns or sweet fillings like red bean.

We'd all like to have tough, firm buns but not necessarily the ones you're trying to craft. Try the dough again and see what happens?

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