The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Baozi (Steamed Buns)

foolishpoolish's picture

Baozi (Steamed Buns)

(makes 16 small or 8-10 big fluffy buns) 


Baozi are steamed buns typically eaten for breakfast in China ('bao' meaning bun/bread).  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 AP Flour
220g Water
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

(Additional: Baking parchment cut into 16 squares (3") and 1 tbsp sesame oil)

Put all the ingredients for the filling together in a bowl and mix well. Set it aside for at least 1 hour.

Mix all the dry ingredients for the dough.

Mix the melted shortening/lard and water.

Stir the dry ingredients into the water and mix/knead to a smooth dough (5-10 minutes kneading).The dough should be fairly stiff but if you feel it's not loose enough for shaping then incorporate a little more water.

Bulk ferment the dough until doubled in volume (about 30-40 minutes)

After bulk fermentation, turn out the dough and degass.

Divide the dough into 16.

Roll each piece of dough into a ball and rest for 5 minutes.

Flatten each ball and roll/shape into a thin, flat disc about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. (Try to keep the dough at the edges thinner than in the centre) 

Place about 1 tbsp of the filling in the centre of the dough and crimp the edges of the dough around the filling.

Brush a square of baking parchment with sesame oil and place the formed bun onto it.

Allow the bao to proof on a covered plate or tray for a further 20 minutes before placing in a steamer to cook for 15 minutes. 

Check that the pork is cooked through before serving immediately (they can be addictive and usually don't hang around long!)




Woz's picture

Mmmmm, brings back so many memories.

My Chinese Granny used to make these quite often, always eagerly anticipated. She didn't use yeast, rather some old dough left over from the previous batch as I imagine yeast would have been hard to find in China. Kinda like a pate fermentee I guess. Never did get the recipe and sadly she is no longer with us.

So, any left FP? Should I book my plane ticket??

foolishpoolish's picture

Old dough would be an excellent way to make these and would certainly be conducive to making them more often (never a bad thing!) 

AnnaInMD's picture

actually cook thoroughly in 15-min steam ?  Wonder how they would fare brushed with a bit of butter or egg wash and baked at around 325 ?

foolishpoolish's picture

Cooked through in about 15 minutes as I recall (depends on how big you make them).

Baking in the oven would be fine also although that's more typical of char siu bau than the filling for baozi. In that case, I'd use a dough suitable for hamburger buns (or similar).

beeman1's picture

That looks so good.

MaryinHammondsport's picture

And I even have a steamer! Will have to try them sometime. Thanks for being so creative.


Cris925's picture

Does any know of a good recipe for anko manju. I have looked everywhere I could think of for this recipe and haven't been able to find anything.

lumos's picture

Maybe because 'anko manju' is not a proper Japanese name and we don't even call them 'anko manju' as a general term for those kind of thing.  (trust me, I'm Japanese ;) )

There're many, many kinds manjus (filled dumpling) with anko (sweet bean paste), but each of them has its own name depending upon how/where it's made, a kind of anko used and a kind of skin (=dumpling dough) used, etc. etc. 

If you give me a bit more details on what sort of one you're looking for, I'll try to find the nearest one for you.

kind regards,


Cris925's picture

What I originally started looking for was a recipe for sweet steamed buns made from rice flour, like the ones I used to get from my local japanese market. however, because they're no longer there and because I now prefer to eat freshly made organic products I thought of trying to make them myself. When I typed in japanese sweet steamed buns in the google search engine all that came up was a few recipes for anko manju.

lumos's picture

Do they look like these, with yeasted soft 'skin' like white bread(-ish) , which is supposed to be served warm after steamed?  If so, that's actually Chinese steamed dumpling though very popular in Japan, so you can buy it anywhere in Japan or at Japanese food shops abroad. (Japanese common name 'an man,' shortened from 'anko manju' but we NEVER call it anko manju)    For those, you should be able to find lots of recipes on internet or in Chinese cookbooks,  usually under the name 'steamed dumpling.'  Some of them are savoury with meat filling (usually barbecued pork, minced pork or minced chicken or vegetable) and some are with sweet filling like red bean paste. 

Japanese sweet dumplings with red bean paste are completely different stuff. Some of the typical ones look like these, for example. Skin is never yeasted, so not as fluffy or thick like Chinese ones, and are much smaller and  not served warm.  As I said, there're indefinite varieties for this, so difficult to find a right formula unless you know exactly what you want.






whosinthekitchen's picture

Hi foolishpoolish,

The buns are great looking.  Problem!  None in my kitchen to go with my cuppa!

I replenished my flour yesterday and have plans to smoke some pork.  I  think I see steamed buns near the  future.

Great post.  I look forward to trying your filling recipe.  Been making steamed buns since our trip to Hong Kong several years ago.


whosinthekitchen~ Lisa