Making Steamed Chinese Buns with ‘Old Dough’ (Man Tou / Pao / Bao / Hanamaki)

Since my last post on how to make Chinese Buns, my cousin enlightened me giving me a recipe using ‘old dough’. The texture of these buns using ‘old dough’ as a starter is different compared to those made with the recipe from my last post. These buns are slightly softer with a tint of elastic texture. Quite enjoyable. Thank you Polly for sharing. As the recipe is to make Man Tou it makes smooth buns and not the ‘explosive top bao’. Very good for making ‘Silver Thread or Flower Rool Man Tous’.

Ingredients for Old Dough
50g plain flour (I find using normal plain flour gives better texture than superfine flour or Pao flour)
150g self raising flour
110 ml water
1/2 tsp instant yeast

Ingredients for Man Tou
160 ml fresh milk
100g plain flour (normal, not superfine flour will do)
200g self raising flour
30g sugar (for savory buns or 70g sugar for sweet buns)
1 tbsp oil
70g’old dough’ (1/4 of the portion made earlier)
5g yeast

To make Old Dough: Add the dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl, make a well and pour the liquid slowly into the well in 2 portions. Mix with a spoon until a dough is form and knead with hands. Divide the Old Dough into 4 portions and freeze until required. Can be forzen for a couple of months.

To make Man Tou

  1.  Add the dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl, make a well andplace the old dough in the centre (make sure the old dough is fully defrosted if kept in the freezer). Press the old dough down.
  2. Pour the milk slowly into the well in 4 portions.
  3. Mix with a spoon until a dough is form and knead with hands.
  4. Cover with a wet cloth and leave to proof for 30 min to 45 mins (until dough double in size).
  5. Divide the dough and shape. Cover with wet cloth and proof again for 30 minutes and steam.
  6. Steamed and cooled buns can be frozen.
  7. To reheat, steam for about 20 minutes from frozen. Ensure buns are piping hot and enjoy!

You can put fillings into the Man Tou (pork, beef, duck, Nutella, peanut butter, lemon curd, custard, aduki bean paste, kaya etc)
Substitute white sugar with brown or demerera sugar


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