Vegetarian Bao Buns. So Soft. Fluffy. Luscious. Pillow-y. A dream.
These bao buns are what my carb dreamzzzz are made of. They’re so delicious and soft and before now, I had no idea they were so, so, so simple to make at home.
If you make them the legit AF way, the way you’re supposed to, you’re going to take pork fat and render it and pour it into this bread dough. But, I found that butter (a bit easier to find and deal with) is just as good. I adapted this recipe from David Chang’s recipe.
Vegetarian Bao Bun Dough!
This dough is so simple, if you’ve ever made, like, cinnamon rolls, this dough is comparable. The milk adds such a nice softness that is so v necessary. It’s in many ways an enriched dough, minus the butter.
There are two shorter-than-usual rises and then they steam in a basket for only about five minutes. Before doing this, I had never steam-cooked bread and now I’m like, man, what else can I do with this dough?!?! what other dough can i steam?!
These buns are so supple and soft and delicious. I wished I could crawl into one of these bao buns and take a nap–that’s how soft and gorgeous they are.
I filled them with a super easy filling:
-sautéed mushrooms with tons of green onions and sesame seeds
-some julienned carrots
-and micro greens!
I know this is a blog post for vegetarian bao buns but if you want, like, sear up some slices of pork belly and put them in there. It’ll be delicious!
If you have mushrooms left, try these vegetarian potstickers–they’re amazing!
But I also had the super trashy idea of making mini meatballs and making bao buns meatball sandwiches…Josh thinks this idea is the trashiest/best idea in the world. I think it’d be dope but I also think I prefer the snappiness and freshness the cucumbers and carrots and micro greens offer.
Do what you want!
Here’s a link to the steam basket, see below in the *NOTES for what to do if you don’t own one.
Very Easy Bao Bun Dough:
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 3/4 cup warm milk
- 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 3/4 cup bread flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Mushroom Filling + For Serving:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 pound mushrooms of choice, I used enoki and oyster mushrooms
- 2 green onions, trimmed and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons light-sodium soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha hot sauce
- Salt, to taste
- 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, plus more as garnish
- 1 Persian cucumber, sliced
- 1 carrot, peeled and julienned
- Handful of micro greens
To Make the Dough:
- To the bowl of a stand-up mixer, with the hook attachment, pour in the warm water, milk and active dry yeast. Allow to stand until activated and foamy, about 5 minutes.
- In another medium bowl, whisk together the bread flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
- To the stand-up mixer, slowly add the bread flour mixture. And then pour in the melted butter. Continue mixing on the lowest speed for 8 minutes. During this time, the flour should pull away from the bowl and become a cohesive dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a ball. Return it to the bowl and cover the bowl with a clean towel. Place it in a warm place until it’s doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch the dough down and transfer it to a lightly floured countertop. Using a rolling pin (or wine bottle), roll it out so it’s about 1/2-inch thick. Using a 3-inch cookie cutter, stamp out as many bao buns as you can manage.
- Fold the rounds over into a moon shape, like a taco. Lightly roll them using the rolling pin, flattening them slightly. Allow them to proof on the counter for about 15 minutes.
- Find a saucepan or pot that fits your steam basket. Fill it with a few inches of water and place it over medium-high heat. Add a round of parchment to the bottom to the center of the steam basket (this will prevent the bao buns from sticking!).
- Remove the steam basket from the saucepan or pot and add three or four bap buns. Place the top on and transfer it to the saucepan. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the bao buns are puffy and soft to the touch. Remove from the parchment and set aside. Repeat with the remaining bao buns.
- Keep in a 200 degree F oven to keep them warm while you cook the rest.
To Make the Filling:
- You can make this filling before you start steaming the bao buns so it’s ready to go!
- To a small skillet, set over medium heat, add the olive oil. When warm, add the mushrooms and green onions. Cook until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and Sriracha. Give it a mix and let it cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Salt to taste. Mix in the sesame seeds.
To Assemble the Bao Buns:
- Slice the bao buns in half with a knife. Add a spoonful of the filling into the bao buns and fill with a few slices of cucumbers, julienned carrots and micro greens.