Like most wrapped and stuffed foods, baozi require time and effort to create, assemble, and cook. The dumplings consist of a wheat-based dough and a filling that is commonly pork, but can vary.
I draw from a recipe found on an internet site for amateur bakers and bread enthusiasts. The author of the blog post was inspired by baozi “breakfast treats” she sampled in Shanghai.
Baozi recipe from “The Fresh Loaf”.
Makes 16 small or 8-10 big fluffy buns.
“This recipe was inspired by the bao that I tried a few years ago in Shanghai. I remember walking across the street from where I was staying, to a small shop that opened early in the morning to sell these incredibly popular and tasty breakfast treats. I've tried to replicate them at home with some success I think. The meat filling is very similar to the ones I had in China but please do experiment with whatever takes your fancy. The same dough can be used to make cha siu bao (roast pork buns) and also gai bao (chicken buns) which are often served as dim sum. You could also fill the buns with something sweet (lotus seed paste, azuki bean paste or black sesame) but equally delicious. Moist, fluffy, steamy goodness!”
400g all-purpose flour
3 tbsp Shortening or Lard (melted)
4 tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Instant Dry Yeast
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder (note: two different leavening agents - not a typo)
1 tsp Salt
250g Ground Pork (not too lean)
3 Green Onions (Scallions) finely chopped
3 Shitake Mushrooms finely chopped (I rehydrated some dried shitakes)
2 tbsp Fresh Ginger (finely chopped)
2-3 cloves Garlic (finely chopped)
2 tbsp Soy Sauce (dark or light)
1 tbsp Oyster Sauce
1 tbsp Rice Wine (I used Mirin. You could also substitute with sherry.)
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Sesame Oil
Preparation begins with mixing all the ingredients for the filling and then setting them aside. Ingredients include uncooked ground pork, finely chopped scallions, finely chopped shitake mushrooms, fresh ginger, soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, sugar, and sesame oil.
Next, one prepares the yeast-based dough. Mix all the dry ingredients, and then mix the melted shortening/lard and the water. Stir the dry ingredients into the water and then knead the whole mixture for 5-10 minutes or until it is a fairly stiff dough. Allow the dough it to rise and ferment for roughly an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
The process of folding the filling into the dough is where dumpling technique comes into play. Dough should be rolled into little balls that are then flattened into a circle. The middle should be thicker than the edges of the circle. Pretend that you are holding a drinking glass and put a teaspoon of filling into the well in your hard.
Pinch the edges of dough together in the middle and twist. (You can twist a small portion of the bao off to close the dumpling. YouTube videos advocate for a pleating technique where you pinch the dough together in little pleats and move around the edge of the dough circle until you are able to close the dough at the top of the baozi dumpling. According to one baozi maker on YouTube, he makes 12-13 pleated folds, but pros can make up to 18. At the end of the folding process, the baozi should look like little purses. They should be placed crimped-side up on parchment paper brushed with sesame oil.
Next, the baozi should be placed in a steamer for roughly 15 minutes.