Whenever mom comes back to Sandakan, she always bring back a few packets (or however much she can bring) of frozen non-baked bread that she buys from Natural Health Farm in Bintulu (there's no NHF in Sandakan). She loves them cos it's organic and it's not baked. It's steamed and we just need to re-heat it by steaming it and it can be stored in the freezer and taken out on the morning you want it. I quite like the texture too, cos it's not the soft kind of texture that doesn't fill you up like the normal bun found in any bakery, and it's not heavily salted nor sweetened. We also let the lil' fella have a piece or two whenever we have it as breakfast. However, the stock depletes after about a week.
I felt that its texture and taste is very close to the mantou/ pau I made before, it has a tinge of buttery aroma to it. Now that I still have half a carton of cream left in the fridge after baking the cupcakes for the lil fella's birthday, need to use it up quick before it goes off, I shall try to make the NHF steamed bun using the mantou/pau recipe but incorporating cream.
I also have close to a kilo of flour in the fridge, the problem with it is, I DO NOT KNOW WHAT FLOUR IT IS!? Cos I forgot to label the container after I removed the flour from its original packaging. I tried to recall but to no avail. It could be all purpose flour or bread flour. I made the decision to take the risk using them for this recipe, cos it's possible to make mantou with either all purpose flour (produce moderately soft texture) or bread flour (produce firmer texture). I previously used cake flour or superfine flour to make pau, and the texture came out really soft. Actually, I can also use this 'unknown' flour of mine to make pizza base, cos pizza base too, can be made with either A.P. or bread flour, but mom cant take too much of baked stuffs, she claimed that they give her heatiness. O.. well.. steamed bun it is then.
Ta da... here's my steamed bun.
Verdict: its texture is about 95% close to the NHF steamed bread (or they called it the bread of life). Yeah! Success!! It has that buttery flavor in it cos I used cream to replace milk/water. In the end, I still couldn't figure if it's A.P or bread flour I have in the container, it can highly be bread flour cos the texture is not the 'super-soft' type. But if you're a beginner in making pau/mantou/bread and you want a soft one, I would advice you to work with A.P. flour or superfine flour.
Recipe modified and translated from Carol.
First, I have to make a starter dough. According to Carol, having a starter dough improves the fragrance and texture to great extent. I left mine in room temperature for about 3hours for it to double its size. It didn't proof when in the fridge.
Recipe for starter dough:
- 120g all purpose flour or superfine flour
- 80g warm water
- 1/2 tsp active instant yeast
- pinch of salt (I forgot to add this into mine, it was ok)
- Mix all ingredients and knead till I get a non-sticky dough (I used a breadmachine to knead and it took about 8min).
- Leave in a bowl to proof for about 3 hours or until the dough double its size.
- This starter dough can be divided into two portion. One portion for this recipe, the other portion can be kept frozen and used in future.
Recipe for the raisin bun:
- 300g all purpose flour or superfine flour
- 180g heavy cream (or milk)*, warmed in a microwave for less than 1min
- pinch of salt
- 1tbsp brown sugar
- 1tsp active instant yeast
- 100g of the starter dough (from above)
- 2-3 tbsp. of raisin / blackcurrant (soaked in water for about 10min before use)
*You can use milk to replace heavy cream, but add in about 30g butter for that buttery aroma (also optional).
- Mix all ingredients and knead till I get a smooth, non-sticky dough (kneaded with breadmachine and it took about 13min.
- For the raisin/ or blackcurrant, you may add it from the beginning or later on during the second proofing. I add it from beginning, cos I wanted the raisin to slightly tear (break-apart) to give that visual / color to my steamed bun. But if you want a clean looking bun with whole raisins, then you should add it later on.
- Leave to proof in an oiled bowl till it double its size (about 2 hours). Cover with a damp cloth.
- On a floured surface, punch the risen dough to knock out all the trapped gas.
- Divide into 8 equal size portion (maybe 6 if I want a bigger sized bun).
- Roll into round shape. You may add the raisin in at this step, if you haven't added them in earlier. I wrap each individual ones in cling film and freeze 5. I leave 3 in the fridge so that I can have them for breakfast tomorrow.
- The next morning, take them out from the fridge, place them onto non-stick parchment paper and leave to proof in a warm-ish area (I left them beside by slow cooker cooking the lil' fella's porridge) for about 30min.
- Steam for about 25min. Wrap the lid with a tea towel to prevent the condensate from dropping back onto the bun, which will uglify the outlook. Do not open the lid right away. Let cool in the steamer for about 5min, so that the skin of the pau wont turn wrinkly.
This is a recipe that's suitable for toddler (aged one year and above).