Mantou (Chinese Steamed Buns)
Mantou (馒头) also known as Chinese Steamed Buns is a white and soft type of steamed bread or buns which is popular in Nothern China. Mantou normally serves as a staple food in the Nothern part of china. They are also known in South China, but they always serve as street food or a restaurant dish, rather than the main dish. The typical mantou is usually made of main ingredients: pau wheat flour, but sometimes it also can include other ingredients, such as sweet potato, pumpkin, which are sometimes added to the dough. My detailed instructions and tutorial video will help you to succeed. In this recipe, I will use only yeast as a raising agent which makes the mantou cooking process faster and easier. I like to stamp propitious Chinese words on the mantou, eg 吉祥 (auspicious), 福 (blessing), etc.
Servings: 4 people
- 100 gram Pau Unbleached Flour
- 10 gram Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Yeast
- 1/2 tsp Corn Oil
- 53 ml Milk
Pour the milk into a bowl. Add the sugar and yeast to the milk. Mix well and set aside for around 5 minutes.
Pour the pau wheat flour and corn oil into the big bowl. Pour the milk with sugar and yeast into the bowl with flour and stick with a chopstick. Then knead the flour into a rough shape. knead for around 10 minutes until the dough become smooth.
Shape the dough into a log and cut equally into 4 pieces. Knead the small dough into a rough shape. Place on baking paper individually.
Put the mantou in the wok and allow to rest for about 1 hour at 45 degrees celsius. Steam dough for 18 minutes.
Tips to Make Fluffy Mantou
- Flour - Use the correct flour (I recommended Hong Kong Unbleached Bao Flour). You also can use the other bao flour if you are not able to find the Hong Kong flour.
- Oil - Oil plays a role to make the dough soft (it is a kind of moisturizer)
- Yeast - You can use either active dry yeast, instant yeast (the one I use), and fresh yeast. The yeast plays an important role which is to leaven the Mantou. I recommend using instant yeast instead of fresh yeast or active dry yeasts. This is because using instant yeast particles are smaller, which allows them to dissolve more quickly. Thus, it will save you time.
- Milk - Using milk instead of water in the Mantou recipe. In the dough stage, milk increases water absorption. In other words, dough made with milk will be softer than dough made with water.
- Kneading - Kneading is the most important step to making Mantou, which is the process to mix all the ingredients and add strength to the final products. The kneading process warms and stretches these gluten strands, eventually creating a springy and elastic dough. You can stop the kneading process when the dough is smooth enough (this process has taken around 10 - 15 minutes - based on this recipe).