Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Smile Pau/Bao Improved

 I have just finished making another batch of char siew pau/bao and this time with a starter that i have left to ferment for more than 48 hrs - it was give and take 55 hours.  The starter dough did not look any different and did not smell sour or yeasty.  My conclusion is that if the starter is replenished with just enough water to make into a soft dough, the starter dough will not become foamy.  The first batch of Smile Pau was made with less starter dough and using  more dry flour cos the starter dough was more liquid to start with.  So, when adding the dry flour to the starter dough to make the main dough, it has to be adjusted according to the texture of the starter dough.  Although this Smile Pau/Bao gave the best grin, i feel that there is room for improvement, not only the texture, the appearance too.  I have tried my best to share my experience as i have made more than 5 batches of Smile Pau/Bao and they all SMILE, although sometimes not the way i would love the SMILE to be.  It has been quite fasinating to see the result of this Smile Pau/Bao, smiling how ever they like, they have attitute.  Perhaps it is me, i am not expert enough to seal the pau/bao and it will take many more batches of pau/bao making, even that too might not ensure that i will get it right.  But, what i do know is right, is that the WATER for STEAMING has to be ALOT(quantity) and VERY VERY HOT,  to create as much steam as possible.  This is the toughest combat that i have to face, steaming in high altitute. 

I have edited this recipe by replacing the wheat starch with pau flour as i have found that too much starch makes the pau gummy and sticks to the teeth.

300 gm Starter dough
A tiny drop of potassium carbonate & sodium bi-carbonate solution a.k.a. Kan Sui

90 - 95 gm sugar
1 tsp double action baking powder
1/4 tsp ammonium bicarbonate
1 tsp water
2 - 3 tsp shortening
5 tbsp pau/bao flour


Weigh 300 gm of Starter Dough

Add a drop of potassium carbonate a.k.a. kan sui


Add weighed  90 to 95 gm sugar to the starter dough

Mix starter dough, pottasium carbonate/kan sui and sugar until sugar dissolves

Put 1 teasponn double-action baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon ammonia in a tiny saucer

Use 1 teaspoon of water

Add the teaspoon of water to the baking powder and ammonia

Stir well until dissolved


Add dissolved baking powder and ammonia to the starter dough and sugar mixture


Add 2 tsp shortening to the dough and mix well

Picture showing only 3 tablespoon pau flour but the recipe should be 5 tbsp

This is the brand of pau flour that i use

Add to dough

Mix all the ingredients until well combined

Use 1 tbsp of pau flour as bench flour

Pour mixed dough onto counter and flour your hands, knead dough until smooth

Kneaded dough and ready for wrapping

Look out for the coming post of which i will share how to wrap the pau/bao
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