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Author Notes: I've been having these long before I met bacon and brioche, and I am forever grateful for that. While there are dozens of sleek baos out there, the real deal is supposed to have an incredibly pillowy bun laced with a sweet aroma of milk. Needless to say, an healthy organic slab of full fat pork belly is the place to start, and a good rest overnight makes it that much more delicious. Just one more thing before we move on to the recipe; if the peanut butter and pork belly still seem a bit short of rendering a heart attack, I strongly recommend topping the whole with a crispy fried egg, sunny side up, of course. —Coco et Cocoa
For the steamed milk buns
grams all purpose flour
milliliters warm milk
grams granulated sugar
teaspoon instant dry yeast
pieces 8 cm by 8 cm parchment paper
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the milk and sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it stand for 5 minutes, to bloom.
- Add all of the flour to the bowl and knead with the dough hook at medium speed for 7-8 minutes, or until very smooth and elastic. The dough will tempt you to add more water, but unless it really isn't coming together (in which case add only 1- 1 1/2 tablespoons more milk), otherwise please resist that urge.
- Fold the dough into a pretty ball and cover with a damp cloth somewhere shady and warm. Let it rise for about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
- On a clean working surface, divide the dough into 6 equal portions. Roll each into a long football shape. With a rolling pin, gently roll from the center away from you to 2 cm away from one end. Repeat with the other end. This way, you get those pillowy "lips" on your buns.
- Place a slip of parchment on one half of the rolled dough. Fold the other "lip" over so it looks like a clam shape. Place it on another slip of parchment. Repeat with the remaining dough.
- Cover with a damp cloth and let it rise for another hour or so, just to let it relax a little.
- Preheat the steamer. Load the steamer basket with the baos and steam for 10 minutes, lifting the lid a few times in between to release pressure, until fluffy and chewy.
For the braised pork belly and other fixings
grams organic pork belly, cut into 2 cm-thick pieces
milliliters grape seed oil
grams light brown sugar
milliliters dark soy sauce, plus more for braising
milliliters rice wine
thick ginger slices
milliliters crunchy unsweetened, unsalted peanut butter
bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- Heat the oil in a pan. Add the pork belly to brown on all sides and render some of the fat. Transfer the pork to a plate. Keep the grease in the pan.
- On medium heat, add the sugar to the pan and stir until darkly caramelized. Tip in the soy sauce and stir to break up any clumps. Let the mixture bubble into a thick caramel (watch for the slowing down of bubbles) before returning the pork to the pan to coat completely.
- Deglaze with the rice wine and add one part soy sauce to every 3 parts water until the pork is completely submerged. Throw in the ginger, cover, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is very tender but still holding its shape.
- When ready to serve, fill steamed buns with one or two slabs of pork belly, a dollop of peanut butter, and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for The Recipe You're Most Proud Of
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Sandwich Recipe