Jackfruit Sourdough Gua Bao
Alan’s starter is quite potent and still not getting much of a sour scent to it. It is living in a ziplock bag in my fridge and I made the stiff sweet levain from it directly without any refreshing and the levain was ready in no time. I think I’ll figure out how to bring some home and compare it to mine. Alan if you read this, what is the hydration that you keep your starter? It is certainly not 100%.
So jackfruit can do a decent imitation of pulled pork for those unfamiliar with this tropical fruit. So I combined this vegan pulled pork with my formula for sourdough gua bao and must say, it made a decent dinner. I was a bit apprehensive about steaming the bao without my trusty bamboo steamer, but it worked out using my pasta pot with steaming inserts.
In a large jar, combine all purpose flour, water, ripe sourdough starter, and sugar. Cover the jar loosely and let the levain ripen overnight at warm room temperature (I keep mine around 76°F to 78°F).
In a sauce pan set on med heat with about 1.5 cm of water, place the bowl of your stand mixer creating a Bain Marie, whisk the milk and flour until blended. Then cook for several minutes until thickened, stirring regularly with a spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Let cool.
In The Morning
In a mixing bowl, add the Tangzhong, water, milk, sugar and salt, mix to dissolve. Add the stiff sweet levain and using a silicone spatula, cut the levain into small pieces. Add the baking powder, cornstarch and flour. Mix to form a shaggy dough. Allow to rest for 10 mins. On your countertop or with your stand mixer knead the dough until good gluten development. Drizzle in the vegetable oil and mix until well incorporated. If mixing my hand, which I recommend since it is such a small amount of dough, add the oil with the liquid ingredients. Remove some dough for aliquot jar to follow rise. Shape into a boule and rest in a covered bowl at 82°F until it has increased by 40%.
Prepare six 4” parchment squares.
Remove the dough to the counter and divide into six equal portions shaping each into a tight boule. Allow to rest for 10 mins. Roll out the dough into a 3 × 6-inch oval. Brush the surface of the dough with canola oil and gently fold the dough in half, but make the top folded part a bit longer than the bottom otherwise when steamed they won’t be equal in size. Place on a 4-inch square of parchment paper.
Cover the buns with a damp, clean kitchen towel and allow them to proof until they are 1 ½ times larger,
Cover the filled bao with a damp cloth and place in a warm place and allow them to ferment until they pass the poke test. Using an aliquot jar they should reach about 100% rise.
Prepare your steamer setup and bring water to a boil. Working in batches if necessary, arrange buns in the bamboo steamer spacing 2” apart. Once the water is boiling turn the heat down to medium. Steam over boiling water for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the buns in the covered steamer for 5 more minutes to prevent collapsing. (I left them in the steamer and on the same stove element turned off). Do not lift the lid of the steamer, doing so will cause a sudden drop in temperature that can cause the buns to collapse or wrinkle or dent. Remove the buns from the steamer and allow them to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Buns can be kept in an airtight container (a resealable bag works great) at room temperature for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Room temperature buns can be reheated in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds or steamed for about 2 minutes, until soft and warmed through. Reheat frozen buns by steaming until soft and warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes.
For the buns:
250g plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp easy-blend dried yeast
½tsp baking powder
50ml plant milk
1tbsp rice vinegar
2tsp sesame oil, plus extra for brushing
2tsp black sesame seeds
For the filling:
2 x 400g cans of jackfruit, I only used 1 can.
1tbsp sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
6 spring onions, 4 thinly sliced
3tbsp soy sauce
2tbsp hoisin sauce
2tbsp maple syrup
1½tbsp rice vinegar
1tsp Chinese five-spice
½ red pepper
1. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Drain the jackfruit and squeeze out any excess water. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan or wok, add the jackfruit and fry over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until golden brown, breaking up the pieces slightly with a wooden spoon.
2. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli and four sliced spring onions to the pan and continue frying for another minute. In a small bowl combine the soy and hoisin sauces, maple syrup, rice vinegar and Chinese five-spice with four tablespoons of water. Pour into the pan, mix to combine, reduce the heat slightly and continue to cook for a further three minutes or so until the jackfruit is caramelized and coated in sticky sauce. Remove from the heat while you prepare the remaining filling ingredients.
3. Using a julienne grater, cut the carrot and cucumber into fine strips. Finely slice the red pepper and remaining two spring onions. Cover and chill until ready to assemble the bao buns.
The less quick answer - I have zero standard refresh discipline. For example, If I have 100g-300g levain sitting in the back of the refrigerator for x days or weeks, I can use 100g of it with 100g water and 100g AP flour. Or 200g water 200g AP flour. or use 150g of levain and add 175g water 175g flour. If there hasn't been much of a lag between refreshes - meaning maybe up to a week, the build will double in maybe 6-7 hours. A long lag between refreshes and it might be 10 hours. A second build, if I'm in the mood, will take 3-4 hours to double. And when I'm done and allow for more levain than I intend to use, it gets mixed back into the never washed container from whence it came.
I rarely ever do a third build, except if I'm making a real Jewish style rye and then I generally follow the David Snyder "continents" method. Or not.
I think you get the idea. I would never encourage someone else to follow my scatter-shot method, but wouldn't stop them from trying it either. As with my baggie shaping method it is unorthodox, but it works for me. I readily acknowledge that something else might work better, but I think that the proof is in the pudding.
Thank you for your information, I have made a rye spinoff from your starter and from that made its first levain, we’ll see how perky it is. It’s a stiff sweet starter that saw out overnight, we keep the apartment super cold at night 74°F so it didn’t rise as much as I usually get at 78°F. It’s in the oven now with the light on and I’ll cross my fingers that it’ll get a big rise.
I’d say your microbes are quite different from the ones in my starter. Even having been fed whole rye, the scent is very different, much less sour.
This filling looks good enough to eat on its own!
It has all the familiar and favorite flavors!
I think I have most everything; will look for the cans of jackfruit.
Yes jackfruit does a good imitation of shredded pork for sure. The recipe for the filling was from a website, it cooks up a bit drier than I like so I added some hoisin sauce to the bao after assembly.
That looks like a really tasty combo. I also like the vegan option.
Thank you Tony, we were pretty pleased with them as well.
Wouldn't turn down one of those. I've seen Jackfruit sold in cans. Never tried it! Bit wary of jackfruit as i believe it's one of those fruits you love or hate and it has a distinctive smell.
Have you seen recipes for pulled pork made out of banana peel?
Thanks Abe, I’d gladly share with you as you know. I’ve seen jackfruit fresh in Toronto in Chinatown and also in cans. Durian is the fruit that really doesn’t smell great, I don’t recall jackfruit having a distinctive smell. Canned at least it doesn’t taste like much so it really takes on the flavours of the sauce you prepare it in. The cooked texture really emulates pulled pork.
I have seen recipes for pulled pork made from banana peels, but never made it, have you?
I have no idea what jackfruit tastes like, but I really want to eat this. I was sure that it was pork. The bao look perfect....
Thank you Sue, it is actually the first time I have eaten jackfruit. I did try some out of the can, but it didn’t have much in the way of flavour and wasn’t even slightly sweet. So eating the finished product it truly takes on the flavour of the sauce.
Beautiful! I love all kinds of faux foods so count me interested!
Also curious to know how Alan's starter performs in a typical Benny bake - will it increase in volume as dramatically in a sweet stiff levain? Would love to find out how you end up using it.
Thank you Jon. I’m impressed by Alan starter, it does exceptionally well building a stiff sweet white levain. So far it seems to impart no sourness in that type of bread. I have just pulled out of my oven a shokupan. I started an offshoot from Alan’s starter feeding it whole rye at about 80% hydration. It wasn’t quite a vigorous as a stiff sweet levain, but granted I had only given it one feed, allowed it to more or less peak and then refrigerated it immediately so it might do better if I kept it out and gave it a few days of feedings.
I’ve never tried jack fruit and sounds like it’s worth a giving it a go. Looks like you’ve gotten the buns down pat.
Thanks kindly Ian. It sounds like many of us haven’t had jackfruit before, this was my first time too. Yes the sourdough gua bao are working well now.
I would suggest not buying the fresh fruit. First, it is the size of a large watermelon, second, the latex is impossible to remove from anything it comes in contact with (including your hands) and you can't remove the edible bits without getting the latex all over everything. It also comes in different levels of sweetness/savory(ness) depending on how ripe it is.
Best to buy in a can ;0
Yes I used canned jackfruit and that is what I posted above. I’ve never dealt with fresh jackfruit but yes it is big, I wouldn’t know what to do with it all LOL.