Sunday, January 17, 2016

Meat Bao Adventure 2

So the testing contued to the second day.  "We can do better".  Critical evaluation of the Bao Adventure 1 went in and on through the night.  Not satisfied with with the previous dough formula, we moved on to test new formula the next morning.

Flour - 600 g
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp
Olive Oil - 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp
Yeast - 1-1/2 tsp
340 cc warm water
Make 18 round dough. 

Mix all fry ingredients well in a medium size mixing bowl. 
Add warm water - depending on your dry ingredients' temperature.  
While the method calls for continuous kneading for 7-8 minutes, I noticed this dough is quite dry after adding all the water.  Instead of forcing with kneading, I used the no knead bread method I use for making the sourdough bread.  
Form a shaggy dough.  Cover with plastic and rest for 5 minutes.  Knead in the bowl 20 times.  The dough would becomes easy to handle and feel moister and easier to form into a rough ball.  Stop, cover, and rest 10 minutes.   Knead again in the bowl for 2 minutes.  The dough would feel supple and become smooth.   Cover and let it rise until double in size.  

Meat Filling:
Ground Pork - 1 lb
Shredded Cabbage - 1 lb - shredded and liquid squeezed out
Green Onions chopped - 1/2 bunch
Fresh Ginger minced - 2 Tbsp 
Salt - 1 tsp
Cooking Wine - 1 Tbsp
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
White or Black Pepper 1/2 tsp
Soy Sauce - 1Tbsp
Mix all ingredients together, cover, and set aside.

When dough is doubled in size, remove from the bowl and knead 10 times.  Depending on the size of your work surface, divide the dough into halves.  Keep the other halves covered while working with the other.  Roll the cut halves into a long rope enough to slice and form 9 rounds.  (Total of 18.)
Leave some flour on a corner of the work surface.  You will dip the bottom of the round dough with flour that you are holding on with fingers of one hand each time you roll out its edge with the other hand.  
Coat the sliced side of the dough with some flour to prevent sticking onto work surface.  
Press down the cut side of the dough round facing up with the palm of your hand. 
Start rolling the dough rounds with straight 1 or 1-1/2 inch rolling pin that you can buy at the Asian market as follows:
Coat the bottom of the round dough with flour as you roll the edge of the dough 'inward' then back to the edge, then turn the dough 1/8 of an inch at the same time its bottom is coated with flour and brought back to where you would roll with the other hand that is holding the rolling pin.   Continue with this motion - coat, roll, turn, coat, roll.. until a full circle is complete.    

Fill the center of rolled dough with meat mixtures.  
Enclose the dough by pulling the edge and folding them in Fan style and pinch close each fan seam to the previous.
Place on slightly floured surface that you can cover with floured plastic wrap and towel to complete the final rise before steaming.   Or place individual bao on top of a cut parchment paper square for each bao.
Rest for 20 minutes in hot air-conditioned kitchen or cover and rest for minimum 30 to 40 minutes.  
Start boiling water in steamer at low temp first while waiting for the bao to complete the final rise.  
Turn to high to bring to full boil.
Line the bottom of steam basket with moistened cheesecloth. Transfer first 9 baos that you filled first to the lined steamer basket.
Cover and steam at high but one notch down for 15 minutes.
NEVER open the lid.
At 15th minutes, without opening the lid, place a wooden spoon or an object under one side of the lid to allow cooking with released steam.  Steam 5 more minutes.
Without opening the lid or removing the wooden spoon, turn off the heat.  Do not remove from the stove or from the bottom steamer pot.  Cool for 5 minutes.
Without opening the lid or removing the wooden spoon, remove just the basket with cracked open lid to a heat safe work surface.  Cool for 5 minutes.
At the end of 5 minutes, remove the lid quickly and  away from baos to prevent steam droplets to rain on steamed baos.
Serve on bamboo lined placemat to prevent moisture condensation at the bottom to cause soggy bottom.  Or prop steamed bao sideways to cool in the steamer basket.   
Check the steamer's hot boiling water level.  Refill with hot water and bring to full boil.  Steam the next round the same methods.  Bring steamer pot's water to full rolling boil. Place Bao steamer basket.  Turn heat to one notch lower than high.  Steam for 15 min with lid slightly open.   Steam 5 minutes.  Turn off the stove.  Without opening the lid, let it cool down slowly for 5 min over the steamer pot.   After 5 minutes. Remove from the steamer pot.   Without opening the lid, let it sit to cool fir 5 more minutes. 
Transfer to bamboo serving rack. This helps to prevent soggy bottom.  Or serve and enjoy!
Serve with various vegetable pickles it vinegar and ginger or garlic sauce.  

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