Saturday, March 24, 2012

Red Yeast Rice Mantou(红鞠山东馒头)/ Sponge Dough Method

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Red yeast rice () is a bright reddish purple fermented rice. It is widely used as colour in food products, including pickled tofu, red rice vinegar, char siew, Peking Duck. It is also traditionally used in the production of several types of Chinese wine, Japanese sake, and Korean rice wine. It has pleasant taste to food and is commonly used in the cuisine of Fujian regions of China.

Recently my neighbour gave me a box of red yeast rice. At first I don't know what to do with it. After seek advice from her she told me she used to cook it with chicken and pork belly. For the 1st time I used it in pork dish. It tastes great! I love it!

After some surfing I get to know actually can be used in steamed buns. Without any hesitate I try it. I would say this is another one of my favourite steamed buns. Not only the bright red colour but also the scent of the red yeast rice.

1st batch
If you are looking for soft fluffy steamed bun this is not your type. This mantou has firm and chewy texture (实馒头). In order to achieve the firmer texture, extra flour is added after the first proving time. I had made this mantou twice! The 1st time I follow the recipe exactly. In order to find out the difference I divide the dough into 2 portions. One with the exact amount flour needed (as stated in recipe). In the second portion I used half of the amount flour. For the first portion it yields firmer texture. In conclusion, the more flour you add the firmer the texture will be. I actually prefer the second one, lesser flour. (^_^)

Right is firmer texture. Actually can't tell by looking at it ^o^
Sponge dough is used in this recipe. Although the amount used is small it able to increase the chewiness and flavour (彈性及風味) to the steamed buns.

After the 1st batch I make again. Mostly because I like it. Second I want to get better looking mantou. If you notice my 1st batch steamed buns skin is not smooth. At the shaping stage, I feel hard to shape the dough into perfect smooth round. Therefore in the second batch I shape them with mantou method (roll into Swiss roll and divide). I shaped some into dinner rolls too. Third I found that the mantou will taste better if more sugar added. Besides increase the sugar I steamed some with raisins as filling too. I actually enjoy the plain one. The fragrant of the red yeast rice is more obvious as I chew. ^^ The sweetness that I added make this mantou perfect for me.

Another point I like to highlight is the 2nd proving time. It tooks longer than the ordinary steamed buns-40 minutes (as written in recipe). For the ordinary steamed buns I used to prove around 15-20 minutes. Long proving time will cause big holes and sour to the buns. Do refer to my early post for the story. (^.^) Although this red yeast rice mantou prove longer time it doesn't raise much. I guess due to high amount of red yeast rice inside the dough.

Adapted and slightly modified for Carol's 红鞠山东馒头
~ Sponge dough
120g all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp instant yeast
80g water
Pinch of salt (omit)

~ Main dough
110g water
20g light brown sugar (I used 70g castor sugar)
80g red yeast rice
50g sponge dough (I used 60g, tear into pieces)
250g all-purpose flour
50g low protein flour
1/2 tsp instant yeast

120g extra all-purpose flour. Add in after 1st proving. (I used 60g)
~Sponge Dough
Mix all till form dough. Immediately store in greased plastic bag (no proving needed). Make a tight knob without leaving any space for the dough. Store in fridge at least 4 hours. Thaw it for 10-15 minutes at room temperature before use. I prepare the sponge dough one night before. Tear into small pieces before use.
*if using active dry yeast do increase to 1/2 teaspoon. Add the yeast in warm water (not hot when touch) and leave for 5 minutes.
* This yields about 190g. Only 50g sponge dough is required. I divide into 3 portions, about 60g each. I keep the rest in fridge. Can be keep up to 3-5 days.

~ Main Dough
1. Put all ingredients (A) in sequence into a kneading bowl. Knead the dough till smooth (I used stand mixer). Add 5-10g more water if the dough is dry.

2. Shape into ball, cover and rest for 1 1/2- 2 hours (mine 2 hours) till double or 2 1/2 bigger in size.

3. Divide the dough into 4 portions (about 140g each).
*I divide into 2 portions.

4. Gradually add in 30g flour from (B) into each portion (4 x 30g). Knead with hand till all well combine. The dough will become smooth again. Shape into round and place on greased paper.
*Since I cut down the amount of flour I used 30g for my each portion (about 280g each).
*I roll out the dough into rectangle shape. Roll like Swiss roll and divide into 5 portions. For the dinner rolls shaping refer here.

5. Place inside steamer and leave to rest for 40 minutes.

6. Steam from cold water with medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Serve!

I'm sending this recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging # 326 hosted by Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything


  1. This red yeast gave the mantou very nice red colour.

  2. this is really so red! me too, i would prefer mantous to be sweeter instead of bland unless we eat with some savoury dishes.

  3. This is such an interesting ingredient. What is it that makes the rice red, is color added when fermenting?

  4. Claudia,
    I'm not sure. The red yeast rice paste is given by my neighbour. You can actually find the red yeast rice(just like white rice but in red colour)in shops. Do read my later post of red yeast rice loaf bread and find out from Peng's Kitchen.

  5. Love the colour! Thanks for sharing it.
    Hope you're enjoying your evening.

  6. The color alone is enough to make me want to look for this intriguing ingredient, but after you describe the scent and taste, I'm on a mission!

  7. Is it the same as 红曲粉?

    1. From what I read from below link. seems same as red yeast rice.红曲粉
      But the '粉' word make me confused. Is it in powder form? Mine one is paste form.


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