Remember Shao of FriedWontons4U who recently shared her shrimp dumplings (har gow/虾饺) recipe with us? She is back with another guest post today and is serving up some delicious looking homemade wheat mantou (馒头), with step-by-step pictures! I have always loved mantou—Chinese steamed buns that are so soft and pillowy right off the steamer. Another great news, Shao is my new intern on Rasa Malaysia, in addition to the talented The Sophisticated Gourmet. Please welcome Friedwontons4u and give her your warmest support!
Growing up with both of my parents working 6 days a week, my mom’s wheat mantou, a wheat version of the classic Chinese plain steam buns, reminded me that no matter how busy she was, she would always have time to make mantou for me. She would make a big batch on her one day off from work each week, steam it, and store it in the freezer all ready for me to re-steam when I come home to an empty house after school. Unlike regular mantous, wheat mantous are chewier and a little denser than softer white ones, and they are especially good served along with a bowl of congee.
When I decided to ask my mom for the recipe, her measurements included a soup spoon full of baking powder and three big rice bowl scoops of flour. After spending a few days reworking the recipe, I believe I have it decoded. This is a very flexible recipe and even though it’s for wheat mantou, you can use regular all purpose flour and cake flour to make a regular white mantou. You can also add more sugar if you like your buns a little sweeter. Although I mix my ingredients in a stand mixer, you can do this all by hand just like how my mom makes it.
2 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
1 cup of wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoon of yeast
2 teaspoon of baking powder
½ cup of warm water
¼ cup of sugar (or more if desire)
1 ¼ cup of warm milk (more or less as needed)
Coffee filters (for lining the buns)
In a small bowl combine the sugar and yeast with the ½ cup of warm water. Stir until the sugar is dissolve and set aside for 10 minutes.
In your stand mixer bowl combine the whole wheat flour and wheat pastry flour together.
Attached a spiral dough hook to your mixer and set the speed to STIR. Add in the sugar and yeast mixture. Slowly pour in 1 cup of warm milk. If needed, add another ¼ cup.
When all the ingredients are combine and pieces of dough begins to form, switch the speed of your mixer to 2. This will knead the dough.
Knead it for about 1 or 2 minutes until a ball of dough forms. Don’t over knead your dough.
Loosely cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until it is double in size. This would take about an hour.
In the meantime, take one coffee filter and cut it in half. Take the half and cut it into 4 pieces. Repeat until all the coffee filters are cut. Set aside. Depending on the size of your buns, you might need more or less coffee filter linings. These would be use as linings for the bun.
An hour later, in a small bowl mix the baking powder and 2 tablespoons of water together.
Pour the mixture into the dough and knead until it is mix in. Once again, remember not to over knead your dough.
Form the dough into a ball, cut the dough in half, and then half the half. With a rolling pin, roll the dough flat. Starting with one end of the dough, roll that side towards you until you form a log. Pinch and tuck the side ends together. Cut the log of dough into the desirable sizes you want the buns to be. Place a piece of the cut coffee filter paper on the bottom of each bun. Set them on the steaming tray.
Depending on the size of your buns and how many you have in one tray, the buns would take between 10 to 15 minutes to be cooked in a steamer.
Serve them hot.
If you are planning to freeze them, steam it and let it cook down before placing them in a zip lock bag.
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