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Author Notes: An iconic staple in northern China, like baguette in France, or naan in India. Easier than faster than you could ever imagine. Recipe for making toasted sesame paste at home, and a sweet black-sesame version on http://www.ladyandpups.com/2014/01/19/ba-da-bings-eng. Sorry I just can't fit them all in here! —Mandy @ Lady and pups
- 3/4 (185 grams) of warm water, at around 110ºF/45ºC
- 2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 1 1/2 cups (247 grams) of bread flour
- 1 1/2 cups (225) grams of all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup (125 grams) of warm/hot water, at around 160ºF/70ºC
- 2 tablespoons (28 grams) of vegetable oil
- * IMPORTANT: The cups I used for this recipe seems slightly bigger than most conversion suggests. 1 cup = 250 ml. Check your cups to see if they complies, otherwise it might be safer to go with measuring in grams.
- Mix the instant dry yeast in 3/4 cup of warm water (should be warm but not hot to the touch, and cannot be over 115ºF), and let sit for 10 min to foam up. Mix the bread flour, all-purpose flour, sugar and salt together then divide the mixture into 1/3, and 2/3.
- Add 1/3 of the flour-mixture in a stand-mixer bowl with a dough-hook, then add 1/2 cup of hot water (not boiling) and mix on low-medium speed until a smooth dough forms. Add the remaining 2/3 cup of flour-mixture and the yeast-water, then mix on low-medium speed until smooth and elastic, approx 5 min. Then add the vegetable oil and knead the dough on medium speed for a few min, until all the oil has been absorbed into the dough. Turn the speed up to medium-high and knead the dough for another 5 min until very smooth, shiny and elastic. The dough should pull away from the bowl when the machine is running, but sticks when the machine stops.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let proof in a warm spot until doubled, approx 1 hour (the dough itself is quite warm and thus will proof much faster than cold water-doughs).
To make white sesame shao-bing:
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) of toasted white sesame paste
- 1 tablespoon ground black pepper, plus more to top
- 2 teaspoons ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 cup toasted white sesame seeds
- HONEY WATER:
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- *** Of course, store-bought toasted sesame pastes would be perfectly fine as well. Just make sure you buy the Chinese-style toasted white sesame paste (darker than tahini) for it. When all else fails, I’ve heard that mixing toasted sesame oil to tahini mimics the flavour of Asian sesame paste… Recipes to make your own toasted black/white sesame paste is on my blog.
- Preheat the oven on 365ºF/185ºC. Mix the toasted white sesame paste with ground black pepper and ground white pepper until smooth, and set aside. Mix the honey with hot water until completely dissolved, set aside.
- Punch the air out of the dough then transfer to a floured surface. Divide the dough in half, and keep one covered in plastic wrap (with enough counter-space, you can prepare the entire dough in one go). Flouring the surface and the dough as needed then roll the dough out into a large and thin, 1/8? thick rectangular sheet (as “rectangular” as you can). Evenly spread a thin layer of the sesame paste-mixture over the sheet extending all the way to the edges (it may be a little messy but I find that fingers are the best tool for this), sprinkle 1/2 tsp of sea salt evenly on top, then tightly roll the sheet together into a scroll.
- Cut the scroll into 5 equal portions. Use your fingers to tightly pinch together the two openings on each end, then gently roll it into a 1/3? thick square (if there’s air inside the pocket making the rolling difficult, pierce the dough a few times with toothpick to release air). Roll the square into a mini scroll again, and tuck both sides under to turn into a ball. The “seams”/where the folds meet, may not stick together because of the dusted flour, so dab your finger with some honey water and gently pinch them together until they stick. Don’t worry if the dough tears slightly. Place the seams-side down, and repeat with the rest. Do the same with the second portion of the dough.
- Place parchment paper over the baking-sheet. Take one dough-ball and dip the bottom in the honey water, then place it on top of the parchment. Dab your fingers in honey water again and press the dough-ball out into a flat disk (the honey water will help the dough stick to the parchment which makes the spreading easier, and it also prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers). Repeat with the rest (no need for too much room in between each shao-bing). Then generously brush the top of each bing with honey water (like you would with egg wash), and sprinkle with a pinch of ground black pepper, and cover the top with toasted white sesame seeds.
- Bake in the oven for 20 ~ 25 min until golden browned on all sides. Transfer to a cooling rack after baking.