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Measure all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand-mixer (if using).
Measure the warm water and oil into a measuring jug. The water needs to be a bit more than lukewarm to help activate the yeast, but it shouldn’t be boiling hot.
Using the dough hook on medium speed, mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Depending on the type of flour which you have used, you might need more or less liquid that than stated in the recipe.
Once you have a sticky dough, continue kneading the dough on medium speed until it becomes soft and smooth to touch. This should take about 10 minutes using the stand-mixer on medium speed, or about 5 minutes by hand.
Once the dough is soft and smooth, I recommend kneading it by hand for a few more minutes on the kitchen benchtop.
Place the ball of dough back into the (clean) mixing bowl.
Place the bowl somewhere warm for about 60 to 90 minutes for the dough to rise and double in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it back and knead it by hand for about 5 minutes to release any air bubbles in the dough.
Then roll out the dough until it is about 1 cm in height.
Use your hands to rub some oil onto the surface of the dough.
Use an 8 cm (3 inch) cookie cutter to cut out rounds from the dough.
Re-roll the dough as needed.
Place these rounds onto a small sheet of baking paper – I like to use plain white cupcake wrappers which I flatten with a rolling pin.
Fold over each round and then use a rolling pin to gently flatten the dough to form the bun shape.
Place all of the shaped buns onto a large tray, cover with a tea towel, and place in a warm place for about 30 minutes for the buns to rise again. After this time, the bao buns should have puffed up slightly.
Meanwhile, prepare the steamer on the stove (see Kitchen Notes below).
Steam the buns in batches for 10 to 12 minutes, or until they are puffy and soft, and cooked all the way through.
Serve the buns immediately.