I've got some good news and I've got some bad news. The bad news is that I had to do this month's challenge all alone. The good news is that -- it's because Sara had a baby! Both Mom and Baby Boy are doing well, and I was delighted to bring them some fresh-baked siopao and spend some quality time with the one-week-old newborn.
Fortunately for me, these Asian buns were pretty easy to make. The dough was somewhat sticky but overall a simple, yeasted dough.
I made the squash and pecan filing, but I'd like to try these again with a meat filling.
After coating everything in flour, it was pretty easy to split the dough ball up into 12 parts.
Then it was just a matter of making a flat disk...
... plopping in some filling...
... rolling it up...
... and pinching it closed. I was a little nervous about my pinching skills but they turned out to be fine.
Here are the siapaos pre-egg wash and baking.
And here they are after 20 minutes or so in the oven. Beautiful!
This was a wonderful challenge and inspired me to explore making steamed buns, as well, since I love those so much.
Congratulations to Sara and her husband Will on the arrival of their baby bun out of the oven!
The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.
Siopao Dough and Siopao
Servings: 12 large buns
1/4 ounce (7 gm) (2 teaspoons) active dry yeast (1 packet )
1-1/2 cups (360 ml) warm water
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
2 tablespoons (30 ml) melted butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
4 to 5 cups (20 oz to 25 oz) (560 gm to 700 gm) all-purpose (plain) flour
1 egg for egg-wash for the buns
1. Mix yeast, water, sugar, melted butter, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Slowly mix in flour until it's fully incorporated and you have a shaggy, very tacky dough, but not wet and sticky.
3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for up to an hour in warm place until doubled. While dough is rising, you can make your filling if you haven't already pre-made it to let it cool (see recipe below).
4. Punch down dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Depending on how much flour you added, it will be somewhat tacky to pretty tacky. Fold it over several times and shape it into a smooth ball, then divide into 12 equal pieces.
5. Roll each piece into a ball and flatten it into a disc about 6 inches (15 cm) wide.
6. Place a heaping tablespoonful of filling into the center of the disc, wrap the dough around the filling, and firmly pinch it closed over the top of the filling.
7. Place filled buns on a baking sheet and loosely cover them with plastic wrap. Let them rest for 1 hour. On the top sheet, you can see where a lot of my dough was too thin. Those were the first siopao I made, before I worked out the technique.
8. Preheat oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4.
9. Beat 1 egg in a small bowl for egg wash and brush on top of each bun. In the photo, you can see that I decided not to risk baking the busted siopao as freestanding buns, so I put them in a small oven-safe dish to bake up as a loaf.
10. Bake buns for about 20 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm. In the photo, some of my pandan filling leaked out a small hole, but most stayed inside. That's a reminder to make sure there are no holes in your buns!
Winter Squash filling
[I had a fair amount left over, but it's delicious to eat on its own]
3 to 5 lbs (1-1/3 to 2-1/4 kg winter squash (I used acorn)
1/4 cup (60 ml) chopped nuts of choice
1/4 cup (60 ml) grated hard cheese, such as Romano, cotija, or Parmesan
1. Preheat oven moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6.
2. Quarter your squash and rub cut edges with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt.
3. Roast the squash for 40 minutes until very soft, and use a sturdy spoon to scoop the flesh into a bowl. Discard the skins.
4. Mash the squash with a sturdy fork or potato masher. Allow the squash to cool. Sprinkle as much of the chopped nuts and cheese as you'd like into the mash and stir them in. Use 1 to 1-1/2 rounded tablespoons of filling for each siopao.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
Store leftovers in the fridge for no more than 4 days and reheat for 30 seconds in the microwave. You can also store baked siopao in the freezer, individually wrapped airtight, and reheated in the microwave for 60 to 90 seconds. I'm not sure how well frozen, unbaked siopao will thaw because the filling is moist and might ruin the integrity of the dough as it goes through its long thaw and final rise.
My mom taught me to just pinch the edges of the dough disc together to close the siopao, and then she'd steam it steam-side down, but many Filipinos use a Chinese style of pleating their siopao and steaming it pleat-side up, like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3kbfbhqFT2k at minute 12:12. I think seam-side down works well for baking, but you could experiment with baking your siopao pleat-side up.