Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dim Sum Bao - 2nd Attempt

I made another attempt to make this bao the other day. This time round I omitted the "ammonia powder" entirely. I read around the web and came to know that this ammonia powder actually made the baos "split or smile". Once the baos are steamed, the ammonia smell will evaporate.

In my first attempt, all my steamed baos came out very well and without any trace of ammonia smell. However, a few bloggers encountered the presence of ammonia smell in their steamed baos, strange!

Back to my second attempt. Having heard so much of how stinky this ammonia was, and partly out of curiosity I open the bottle cover and sniffed... Gosh!!!! So I decided to omit it entirely, after all it only make the bao split, not a problem to me as long as the baos are soft and fluffy, right? Well, I was quite disappointed and stunned when I open the wok!

All the baos STILL split but not as pretty as my first attempt! It was not fluffy at all, though it was still soft but not as soft! :( On a closer look, these baos resemble a picture in a "pau flour" available in our supermarket. ;)

Well, at least I learned something (but through the hard way): Nothing venture Nothing gain.

For this batch, since I didn't have enough "Hong kong flour", I substituted some with "Cake flour" also a low-gluten flour.

For the fillings, I used the same char siew recipe from Gina of KC. This time I bought the char siew pork from a different vendor and used the same seasonings. The taste was real fantastic! Very similar to "Tiong Bahru Pau" fillings! :))

Though the baos were not as soft and fluffy as the previous attempt, my two kids love them any way. They commented that my baos were very tasty! :D They could gobble up 2 pcs at one go!

This bao definitely will not stick in your teeth! :) I believe how you knead the dough determine the texture of your final product, just like bread. :) For your info, this bao remained soft after several hours in my wok, with cover on, a pleasant surprise to me when I had a bite in the late evening... :)

After rounds of baos pleating, I think I can pleat better now. Thanks to my husband who loves to watch food related programmes. In fact, he was the one who show me roughly the technique to pleat. :)


  1. Thanks for sharing on your bao making experience! I love to pleat the baos (same thing to making the pleats for curry puffs)! I used to help my mum made them many years ago :) I love baos that are not the 'smiling' type and comes with a red dot for char siew ones ;)

  2. Hi HHB!
    Thanks for dropping by! :) Think I got beginner's luck in this type of bao! However, my subsequent attempts were not that good! :(

    You should try the char siew fillings recipe from my first attempt. No need so much cooking and its very easy.

    For the bao skin, you may like to try Aunty Yochana's "Simple Char Siew Pau". It's very good too. However, the pau skin is "mantou" type not those commercial char siew bao with "red dot". I'm currently searching for good pau skin, not "smiling" type too! :)

  3. Thanks for the info! I will try your char siew filling, and will make it a point to try make Char Siew pau or Bah pau soon.

  4. Hi HHB
    Can you please tell me what type of shortening did you used? Do you have to melt it before adding to other ingredients? Is there a substitude for the shortening?


  5. Hi Anonymous, I'm MH!
    There is only vegetable shortening available in Singapore, if I'm not wrong. So I'm using vegetable shortening. No need to melt shortening, just add it in with the rest of the ingredients. I'm not so sure of substitution for shortening though.

  6. Hi,My first drop in..I love your blog.
    The smiling Bao I have tried few times but unsuccessful. From the results you made, can we conclude that that Hong Kong Flour is a must? TQ


  7. Hi dd!
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    Well,for your information, Hong kong flour is a low-gluten flour. If you can't find Hong Kong flour you can use other low gluten flour such as: Cake flour/top flour or superlite flour. Hope these infos are helpful. :)

  8. Hi MH

    I happened to chance upon your smiling baos recipe and it looks delicious. I would like to try it out one of these days. Before that, wld like to know whether I need to buy a bamboo steamer for steaming the baos or can I just put the baos in a steamer wok with holes in it and place the baos on it or on a plate?


  9. Hi naomileo7,
    I use a metal steaming rack for steaming all my baos. I place all the baos directly on top of the rack, no plate.

  10. Hi MH,

    Thanks for your prompt reply. Will try out and feedback to you the outcome when I got all the ingredients. Thanks again :)

  11. Hi MH

    I finally got the ammonia and tried out last night. I proved for 10 hrs. Start mixing the starter dough and the skin dough at 12 midnight (using hand as I do not own a Kenwood mixer) after watching Taiwan Tornado and finishes at around 4am - including washing up. The baos turned out a little bit dry, not the fluffy type i expected it to be. My daughters commended that it's not like what we got from Tiong Bahru Bao or HK tim sum but nevertheless it's quite nice though. (Effort paid off hahaha).

    I think it is due to the measuring scale that i used (mine is not the digital scale and it is quite difficult to weigh accurately especially like 23 gm of shortening and 5gm of ammonia (for ammonia, I take it as 5gm = 1 tsp and double acting baking powder 20 gm = 4 tsp), not sure am I right in this instant.

    I will not give up and will definitely make an attempt again. By the way, do you need to dust the roller with flour before rolling the dough? My got stucked on the roller and I used HK flour to dust it.

    Once again, thanks for the recipe. I can now claimed that I made my homemade baos. hahahaha...


  12. Haven't tried your recipe yet, just want to say thanks for sharing them, they all look great in photos :) Keep up the good work!