Thursday, September 15, 2011

Char Siew Pau Making in Three ways: #1-Straight Dough Method

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I always wonder how is the pau texture made with Hong Kong flour. Recently I make my own “char siew” and decide to make char siew pau. Therefore I bought a packet of Hong Kong flour and give it a try.
I expected the pau texture should be very soft and fluffy. However the result was not really surprised me. Because I can get the similar result with plain flour using My Little Space, Kristy pau recipe (sponge dough method).  To double check the result I made the pau with plain flour the next day (2nd method).
For the 3rd method I used overnight sponge dough with Hong Kong flour. I reserved some of the dough from 1st method (straight dough method with Hong Kong flour) as the starter dough.
So I had make char siew pau in 3 batches within two days :D Luckily my family members manage to clear most of them. My six years old son can eat two pieces at one go! Well I think the filling is most attracted to him :D
Here are the pictures taken for the methods that I used. One of them is using plain flour and the other two is Hong Kong flour (straight dough method and with overnight starter dough).

I involved my hubby in the tasting experiment. I served him 3 char siew pau from each method at the same time. From the outlook he can’t spot which one is made from plain flour. After tasting he told me the texture is very near. However he managed to guess which one is made from plain flour.
The price of a kilogram of Hong Kong flour is about 4 times more than plain flour. If the result is not far..far..better than plain flour, why I need to spend more? Therefore I will still remain using plain flour for my pau making in future. If you have any experience on using Hong Kong flour or pau flour in pau making do share with me.     
For the coming posts I will share with you on the other 2 methods that I used for making these char siew pau. You can use this recipe for making mantou too.  
Ingredients: yield about 16pcs x 40g
~ Char siew filling
½ pieces onion (diced)
Some oil
250g diced char siew (homemade)
5 tbsp char siew sauce (homemade)
2 tbsp white sesame seeds
* Do refer Chinese roasted pork (char siew) on how to make your own char siew.
~ Pau Dough
3 cups Hong Kong flour
3 tbsp sugar
1½ tsp yeast
1 cup water
1 tbsp vegetable oil
~Char Siew Filling
Fry onion with oil till fragrant. Add in the diced char siew and sauce. Cook till well combine. Off the heat and add in white sesame seeds. Mix well. Keep the filling in fridge for an hour before use.
~ Pau Dough
1. Put all ingredients (A) into kneading bowl. Knead till all form dough.
2. Add in the oil and continue knead to form pliable dough. Cover and leave aside to prove 45 minutes or double in size.

3. Transfer the dough to working surface. Divide the dough into 40g each. Shape into balls and rest for 10 minutes.

4. Flatten balls into round shape. Wrap in filling and place on lined paper. Rest the pau in steamer for 15 minutes.

5. Bring the water to boil. Steam at high heat for 15 minutes. Once the steaming time is over, off the heat, leave the pau inside the steamer for 1 minute before open the lid.


  1. Lovely baos!! I want to have some too, please :)
    Btw, is your 3rd baby girl or boy?

  2. I have not tried making pau using plain flour, so i can not tell you the difference. Actually which pau you like the most?

  3. Ah Tze,
    Thanks. Is a girl :)

    My preference will be HK flour(overnight starter),plain flour(sponge dough) and HK flour(straight dough method).

  4. HI Vivian,

    I always find the pau using direct method will turn out hard when it is cooled esp the next day. By using your sponge dough method, would it be better? (i tried once on sponge dough but it ended up the same as direct dough. May be my method issue)


  5. Hei,
    I found the sponge dough method produce better result. It could be cause by the dough is not well prepared. The dough should be smooth and soft to handle. It should rise while leave to rest. Maybe you can try on Kristy, My Little Space steamed buns recipe which I used in my previous pau recipes. I Hope this will help.

  6. i've not tried sponge dough method, let me chk out your next post..

  7. The filling makes me hungry sooo baaad...

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. I saw this quite late. if you wanna achieve better result, you can have try my recipe. But very troublesome!!

    Dough A,
    1 tsp yeast, 300 gm Hong Kong Flour, 20 g Sugar, 150 ml Water.

    Mix well the ingredients in bowl and knead to a dough, allow the dough to rest for 28 hrs.

    Dough B,
    175 g Dough A, 600 g Hong Kong Flour, 300 g Water.

    Use 175 g Dough A, mix with Hong Kong Flour and water. Knead a dough. Allow dough 2 rest for 22 hours.

    Dough C,
    600 g Dough B, 190 g Hong Kong Flour, 200 g Sugar, 4 g Ammonia, 15 g Baking Powder, 20 g Vegetable oil (Crisco Oil), 1/2 tbsp (7 ml) Lye water.

    To make Dough C, use 600 g of Dough B, Sugar, lye water for 1 minute, add in ammonia mix until smooth. Then add in the Hong Kong flour and baking powder and mix well to form Dough C.

    The Dough is complete. Wish you could achieve a good result.

    1. Thanks for your recipe. I really appreciate! Do you think cake flour (low protein flour) work well too? Keep the dough at room temperature right?

  10. hi vivian
    i've tried several pao recipes with several flour(HK.low prot,all purpose,high prot) but still can't find that fit my expectation yet
    i really obsesed to make pao just like i've ever buy in store
    it is very soft (like cotton),fluffy but the texture is dense. the surface is not shiny (my pao ussualy shiny after steamed,so it's little bit chewy)
    acctualy i'm very amateur in technique so i cant troubleshoot my practice(just do the recipe)
    which recipe should i try?


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