Saturday 29 November 2014

Koala, Panda & Bear Salted Egg Custard Steamed Buns (流沙包)

I almost decided to title this post "The three bears with Goldilocks inside". But then some would argue that koalas are marsupials, not bears. And there's no blonde girl inside the buns but golden custard :p. Here are my beary baos!

Check out the salted egg custard and fluffy bun!

I am still experimenting with the recipe and steaming times to get the right taste and consistency. This time round, the taste is close to what is commercially sold but can still do with more improvement in the "runnyness" department.

I omitted cornflour, reduced the amount of custard powder and increased the amount of coconut milk used in the hope that it will help to make the custard more runny. It seems like I still need to reduce the amount of custard powder used. I was right to omit the cornflour upon checking the ingredients list of commercially sold frozen liu sha baos.

The bao skin recipe is almost the same as the one I always use as it is simple, soft and fluffy. I added less water this time and used high heat to steam for a shorter time. From my previous bao experiment, I found that the dough can be stored in the fridge in between steps without affecting the taste of the bao if the first proofing is done with the dough in the fridge. A very necessary "step" for me especially when kids are home during the school hols and I still do activities with them, cook and do housework!

Recipe for the filling and bao skin is very similar to my guinea pig liu sha bao post.

Recipe for salted egg custard 
Ingredients (makes 9 baos):
2 salted egg yolks, cooked and mashed
40g unsalted butter, softened
32g icing sugar
15g custard powder (I will reduce to 10g in my next attempt)
30g milk powder
25g coconut milk (I will increase to 30g next time)

1. Mix butter and sugar until well combined. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve to make it smooth.

2. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes-1 hour until firm. Portion into balls of 16-17g each. I find it helpful to wrap them in cling wrap and freeze them until it is time to assemble.

Recipe for bao skin
150g Hong Kong bao flour plus extra for dusting
28g cornflour
26g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tsp dry yeast
1/6 tsp baking powder dissolved in 1/2 tsp of water

92g water
11g vegetable shortening

7g Milo powder
1/4 tsp charcoal powder
Some hot water

1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour water in. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture until a dry dough forms. Gradually add baking powder solution and continue kneading/ stirring the dough in the bowl.

2. Pour the dough onto a non stick mat and knead for about 5 minutes. Gradually knead in shortening and keep kneading until dough passes windowpane test. About 20 minutes. Alternatively, you may use a stand mixer or bread maker to knead.

3. Let the dough proof for 30 minutes or until double in size. I placed the dough in a measuring jug lined with cling wrap and refrigerated it. I monitored the rise of the dough now and then. Just nice, the dough rose to almost double in size when I was ready.

4. Knead the dough for a couple of minutes to expel trapped air.
Divide the dough accordingly:
Remaining dough-white

Make a paste with Milo and charcoal by adding a bit of water. Colour the dough with the pastes. I was busy so I put the coloured dough back in the fridge to prevent it from over-proofing. Set aside 30g of dough for each bao, with extras for features.

5. Lightly dust your work surface and fingers with flour. Flatten a 30g ball of dough and place the frozen filling in the middle. Wrap it and pinch seal. Place the seal side down on a small piece of baking sheet. Add on the animal features. I just used my fingers, a bench scraper and toothpick as tools. I was trying out different ways of adding on the features to see which style is nicer.


Teddy bears!


I was interrupted while working on the koalas so the bao surface is not as smooth as the other 2 batches.

6. Proof the assembled baos at room temperature for 45 minutes before steaming. There is no need to cover them while proofing. Towards the end of the second proofing, prepare the wok/ steamer for steaming. Steam on high heat for 6 minutes. Turn of the heat and leave the baos covered in the steamer/ wok for 3 minutes before removing them.

Enjoy them while they are hot! If you would like to store them, wait for the baos to cool down completely. Store in airtight container/zip lock bag and freeze it. Resteam for 12 minutes.

My little one with sweet tooth loves these beary much :).

Update: please refer to my next attempt. The filling is very runny and remains so even after freezing and resteaming! My kids think that this following batch of liu sha baos is the best I have made so far!

With lots of love,
Phay Shing

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