Steamed Bread Chemistry ?
I steamed my first chinese bean paste buns yesterday (boy were they good!) and was struck by the difference in taste and texture of the steamed bread. I wondered what was going on chemistry-wise with the starches, sugars, etc. I know there is an explanation out there for what happens when dough is steam cooked rather than baked. I have the basic bread chemistry down on baked bread, but would like to know about steamed. It still has oven spring, but is quite different in texture (chewy, more dense, starchier?) and does not appear to brown if at all. No Maillard reaction? Also it seems that most steamed breads are enriched. What would happen if a lean dough was steam cooked? (I'm saying steam "cooked" to differentiate from bread that is steamed for the first part of baking, i.e. baguettes).
Does anyone know? Dan DiMuzio, Steve B, Debra Wink perhaps?
Some other questions:
I know of Boston Brown Bread and other similar recipes that can be steam cooked all the way through in a steamer, in cans in a dutch oven or crockpot, et. But are is there any precedence for a bread that is steamed and then baked to add a crust? Would there be any taste, texture benefit to doing so?
I appreciate any interesting scientific insights, personal experiences, historical anecdotes, etc. :-)