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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Milk Mantou (Steamed Buns) 牛奶饅頭 and Red Bean Mantou 紅豆饅頭

Mantou is Chinese steamed buns originated from Northern China. In Taiwan, there are Mantou vendors at every street corner. It's very popular as a snack or eaten for breakfast. With the same Mantou dough, you can make it into different types of buns. You can find a detailed explanation of what Mantou is and different usage for the dough from Ivy's Kitchen.

This is my first time making any sort of Mantou/Bun related things. My recipe is an adaptation of a recipe from Vivian Pang Kitchen and also some other ones I found on Taiwanese food blogs. Also instead of a steamer, I used Datong Rice Cooker 大同電鍋. Since the Datong Rice Cooking can only fit so many Mantous at once, I divided the dough in half and made plain Milk Mantou and also sweetened red bean (azuki bean) Mantou. I made the red bean paste several weeks ago and kept it in an air tight container in the freezer. I took it out of the freezer and defrosted in the microwave.  

Milk Mantou

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix. Slowly add the milk into the dry ingredients and  until a dough forms.  Kneed the dough in the bowl for about 5 minutes then kneed in the vegetable oil until it's well incorporated in the dough (another 5 minutes). Cover the dough with plastic wrap or damp clean kitchen towel and let it rest for about 10 minutes. You can either roll the dough into logs or rounds. The log method is to roll the dough into a large rectangle sheet and roll it up like a Swiss roll then cut into small pieces. To make rounds, you first roll the dough out into a log then cut the log into little pieces. Roll the pieces into rounds.
Since I divided the dough in half, I put the uncooked red bean mantou in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap so it slows down the proofing while I was waiting for the first batch (plain Mantou) to be done cooking. 

Using Steamer- 
Fill the steamer with COLD water. Line the steaming tray with parchment paper or clean damp cheese cloth. Place the uncooked Mantou onto the paper or cloth then let them rest for 20 minutes covered in the steamer (at this point the heat source is not on). After the Mantou have been resting, turn the heat on to medium high. Once the water boils, turn the heat down to low then let the Mantou steam for 12 minutes (7-10 minutes if you are making mini Mantous). Turn the heat off and let it steam for another 2 minutes, I know you are attempted to open the lid but don't! The Mantou will shrivel up when the cold air hits it. 

Using Datong Rice Cooker-
I used a steaming tray but you can also use a heat safe plate (it shouldn't be too large, make sure you leave enough room for steam to come up). I propped up the tray with a small shallow bowl so it's elevated. Fill the bottom of the cooker with 2 cups of COLD water. Same as using a steamer, place the Mantou on the tray/plate let the uncooked Mantou rest for 20 minutes. Put the lid on the cooker but leave a little opening so the steam will not drip down to the Mantou. Plug in the cooker then set it to "cook", when the cooker indicator goes from "cook" to "warm"; it's done. Remove the Mantou from the cooker and enjoy! 

After my first batch, I poured cold water into the cooker. Put the red bean Mantou onto a different steaming tray and repeated the process. 

The end result was delicious! Not bad for a first timer! The Mantou is soft yet a little chewy with a little sweetness. I think next time if I want a less chewy bun, instead of using just all purpose flour; I will use some cake flour also. 

Uncooked Milk Mantou

Red bean Mantou

Make sure you leave an opening



Uncooked red bean Mantou

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