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Char Siu Bao--Cook-Off 2

Charcuterie Cookoff Chinese

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136 replies to this topic

#61 phifly04

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 11:31 AM

Excellent job LMF,they look mighty,mighty good!!! :wub:
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#62 jackal10

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 11:38 AM

Those look good, Wendy!
I use silicone baking parchment.

I'm making baked bao, essentially the recipe I posted above.
To a baker it looks like a very rich dough - all those eggs, butter and sugar, so I expect it to be slow moving.

Thce Char Sui got a bit overcooked, but still OK. I like the texture contrast given by the chewy skin. The filling has onions, shitake mushrooms and young leeks. Slaked cornflour is in the mug just in shot.

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The ones on the bottom are the left over dough.
Just now waiting for them to double - maybe another hour, then eggwash and bake. I'm wondering if I should retard them in the refrigerator overnight, and bake tomorrow which is what I would do for conventional bread. to give a finer crust.

#63 jackal10

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 01:31 PM

In the spirit of inquiry I baked half off, and have retarded the other half in the firdge to bake tomorrow. We will see if there is any difference in the crust.
These baked about 30 mins at 400F, with a burst of steam at the beginning (half a cup of water flung onto the hot oven floor) to gelatanise and crisp the crust.

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Filling is quite chunky and while moist, not gloopy, but a good texture.
I used some of the Chilli Pixian Fermented Bean Paste in the marinade for the char sui, with some of the left over marinade to moisten the filling, and the flavour (and a little of the chilli) come through deliciously.
The bread is what one would expect from a rich dough. Crust crisp and thin. Maybe too much filling and not centred.
I've no idea how authentic these are, but they taste good! Had them for supper with a bowl of chicken soup.

#64 little ms foodie

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 01:38 PM

Those look awesome!!!!

#65 fou de Bassan

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 01:56 PM

Here is the pork after cooking...
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Filling is ready
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Preparing the dough, I used a tortilla press so my 5 yr. old could help
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My Buns!
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These were wonderful! We made pork and chicken and found the pork to be tastier and to have a better texture. The pork held the sauce better as well.
I'm new to posting photos, advice on how to make them small would be extremely helpful!
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#66 beccaboo

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 02:05 PM

I used waxed paper and it seemed to stick pretty badly. Dumb question for the day...is there a 'right' and 'wrong' side to wax paper? Do people usually use parchment??

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I use lettuce leaves--they get all soggy and disgusting, but they peel right off.

#67 little ms foodie

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 02:11 PM

fou that looks great!!!

beccaboo- but what if you are steaming them and then freezing them? I think maybe we didn't make our paper squares large enough, fou's look better.

By the way we are on our third one each for lunch right now! mmmmm....

#68 fou de Bassan

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 02:29 PM

Thanks lmf! I need to learn how to play with color as my buns look a bit anemic in the post. I used parchment paper underneath tha bao as I didn't have any waxed paper in the house. I had no problems with sticking but I did oil the tortilla press as I was flattening the dough and I think that could have helped.
If only Jack Nicholson could have narrated my dinner, it would have been perfect.

#69 torakris

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 05:56 PM

I have no parchment, so will be using wax paper, thanks to these hints I will try oiling it first. Stores open in 5 minutes I am off to by some pork belly, bao is on the menu for tonight!!

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#70 Dejah

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 07:34 PM

I used to use wax paper, then got the idea to use the paper liners for cupcakes. The medium size ones are a perfect fit.

Quite often, I make 3 different fillings:, one is char sui, another one is a filling of shitaki mushrooms, ginger, lapcheung (Chinese sausage ), and chicken stir-fried with oyster sauce. The 3rd. is curry chicken and onion.

This is when I use the coloured cupcake liners . . . a different colour for each filling.
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#71 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 08:47 PM

I got my pork shoulder/butt marinating this afternoon, and have been reading about bao dough all day long. I think I'm ready to roast the pig and get stuffin'!

Here are the ingredients that I used for the two different marinades:

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One is very sauce-intensive (Eileen Lo's) and the other (Charmaine Solomon's) is less saucy and includes garlic and ginger. I added szechuan peppercorn (my Penzey's five spice didn't include it bc of the restrictions, but I got some new stuff recently in Boston's Chinatown) and fermented bean paste to both recipes, even though neither mentioned the szechuan peppercorn and only Lo mentioned the bean curd. I have to say, that fermented bean curd is magical stuff for me.... :wub:

Here's what the two sauces looked like:

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Left is Lo's, right is Solomon's; you can tell by amount and color (Lo's is much darker).

Finally, here's how the pork looked completely broken down and marinated:

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I have to say I found the breaking down of all the pork most satisfying. I think I'm going to start a thread about my butchering jones! Meanwhile, on a snow day (no school -- which I run!) tomorrow we make the bao!!
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#72 torakris

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Posted 23 January 2005 - 09:10 PM

not the best picture, but....

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the pork belly marinating
Corrine Trang's recipe calls for honey, hoisin, soy sauce, sugar, shaoxing wine and garlic. I had to leave out the fermented bean curd as it wasn't at either of the stores I went to this morning and she also calls for red food coloring but I don't find it necessary.

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#73 phifly04

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 06:56 AM

I am going to start roasting the pork,This is where i am going to break with tradition and roast my pork using the low and slow method.250f for 4 hours,then blasted at 500f the final 15 minutes,my dough ecipe is from the Philadelphia Inquirer
1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
2 tbl. sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water(110F)
2 1/2 cups a.p flour
1 1/2 cups cake flou
1 tsp. salt
happy pics to follow :huh:
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#74 beccaboo

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 07:05 AM

beccaboo- but what if you are steaming them and then freezing them? I think maybe we didn't make our paper squares large enough, fou's look better..

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I don't know--we always eat most of them right up, then microwave the leftovers for lunch the next day. One time I was out of lettuce and used wax paper, and it stuck terribly.

#75 jackal10

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 07:14 AM

T baked off the buns I had retarded overnight in the fridge.
Not a lot of difference, but more of the sourdough flavour in the dough, and note the fine bubbles in the crust that are characteristic of retarded doughs.
I may have over-filled these a bit.

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OK What is the next challenge?

Edited by jackal10, 24 January 2005 - 07:15 AM.


#76 helenas

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 07:35 AM

These buns look wondeful - what if you would steam them? Would buns stay as thin-crusted as they do baked?

Edited by helenas, 24 January 2005 - 07:36 AM.


#77 jackal10

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 07:44 AM

I think steamed Bao have a different dough - less rich without eggs or butter. Traditionally the dough is thicker, both for structural integrity of the soft dough, and also to diistinguish from the steamed dumpling type. If the dough is very thin when steamed it doesn't seem like a bread dough, but just a thick ordinary wrapper.

#78 helenas

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 07:52 AM

yeh, your explanation makes perfect sense, But as i posted a page ago, i still think that those korean buns skins had some leavening in them: the texture was so different from the ordinary wrappers. How about a bit of baking powder? Or something like buttermilk and baking soda?

#79 phifly04

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 12:16 PM

Fantastic!!!the dough(in above thread) came out beautifully and i made a reduction sauce out of the char siu marinade to drizzle over the bao.i steamed them for 10 minutes.i,ll tell you this is my first experience with char siu bao and i am very pleased with the effort.Im gonna take my camera film to get developed and hopefully post some pics by wednesday.I also saved some cubed pork to make fried rice for dinner.A great experience for sure,thanks to all who posted and particapated-looking forward to the next challenge
Dave s
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#80 little ms foodie

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 12:27 PM

I can't wait to see your pictures Dave!

#81 Chris Amirault

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 12:51 PM

Well, for a while I roasted the pork at 450F on two separate pans to keep the marinades apart -- but after a while I decided that my experiment was over and that Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's recipe was best. So all of them turned out like this:

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They are wonderful, very complex and sweet and just great. The marinade I used was

3 T dark soy
3 T light soy
1/2 c honey
1/2 t salt
3 T oyster sauce
2 T shaoxing wine
3 T hoisin
1/2 t white pepper
2 cakes preserved bean curd
1 t five-spice
1/2 t szechuan peppercorn salt

OK, phew.

I've been telling myself that I've got too much work to do to make the bao tonight, but, honestly, I'm a bit scared, bc my bun dough has really sucked everytime I've tried this. I'm obsessively reading the three pages of technique tips in Barbara Tropp's satisfyingly anal recipe in Modern Art of Chinese Cooking, but I'm not closer to making the damned things. I'm not the baker in the house, either, and she's out for the day. So....

I guess I'm putting bao off until tomorrow.... :sad:
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#82 Chris Amirault

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 12:53 PM

I am going to start roasting the pork,This is where i am going to break with tradition and roast my pork using the low and slow method.250f for 4 hours,then blasted at 500f the final 15 minutes,my dough ecipe is from the Philadelphia Inquirer
1 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
2 tbl. sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water(110F)
2 1/2 cups a.p flour
1 1/2 cups cake flou
1 tsp. salt
happy pics to follow :huh:

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Dave, do you have a link for that recipe? Your happy results are encouraging to me!
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#83 chefzadi

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 01:31 PM

yeh, your explanation makes perfect sense, But as i posted a page ago, i still think that those korean buns skins had some leavening in them: the texture was so different from the ordinary wrappers. How about a bit of baking powder? Or something like buttermilk and baking soda?

View Post


The Korean buns are pretty much the same as the Chinese buns. In Korea it's considered to a be a Chinese dish and it is not something that is made at home. Chinese (Immigrants or Korean born of Chinese descent) who are called Hakyuh sell them in restaurants or food stands. Even in LA's Korea town most of the vendors are Hakyuh.

I've noticed it's usually the sweeter dough that's used. As for the Korean versions you had in Russia, some morphing must have happened along the way. At a certain point it became a Korean-Russian version. Are there any Korean-Russians here?

You gotta love how food travels.
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#84 Gastro888

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 04:14 PM

Can anyone explain why some of the baked bao turned out so thin-skinned and the ones you buy in the restaurants have a more fluffy interior? We make the steamed bao at home but after looking at the baked results, I'd like to find out more secrets to the baked bao before attempting. Thanks!

PS: Great photos, y'all!

#85 chefzadi

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 04:21 PM

Can anyone explain why some of the baked bao turned out so thin-skinned and the ones you buy in the restaurants have a more fluffy interior?  We make the steamed bao at home but after looking at the baked results, I'd like to find out more secrets to the baked bao before attempting.  Thanks!

PS:  Great photos, y'all!

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Bake= dry heat, moisture loss
Steam= moist heat, added moisture
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#86 Gastro888

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 04:24 PM

Yeah, but the baked bao you get at the restaurants don't have a thin crust like the ones here. So I'm wondering how they do it so that it's fluffy but with the crusty exterior. I wonder if they do a steam/bake sorta combo.

#87 chefzadi

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 04:32 PM

I've heard of the steam/fry combo for dumplings.

Let the dough rise after stuffing, before baking. I'm not hot a stuffed bun expert. But in bread making steam will give a light fluffy interior and a crusty exterior.
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#88 reesek

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 05:35 PM

Comments on that?

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i live in west seattle :rolleyes:

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haha! well I think you and your cute guy should make some this weekend too and then we can do a taste off here in Pioneer Square :wink:

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he is cute, isn't he? :wub: almost as cute as your bao! :shock:

drool drool. must make bao.

chris - how much pork did you use?
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Kid #2: "Bam" doesn't blow up, "bam" makes it spicy. Now I got a SPICY ROCK! You can't defeat that!

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#89 torakris

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 05:36 PM

the char sui after roasting
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and after cutting
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I then cooked it a bit with soy sauce, shaoxing wine, sugar, scallions and hoisin sauce. The recipe actually called for oyster rather than hoisin but when I opened up my bottle of oyster sauce the smell was off and I realized it expired 8 months ago! :shock: So I cut back on the sugar and added some hoisin.

My kids then helped stuff the buns and snip the tops, the steamed buns
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they weren't as smooth as the ones I buy, but the dough was very good! Did anyone ele's dough recipe call for any kind of fat? Mine had 3 tablespoons of lard...

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#90 torakris

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Posted 24 January 2005 - 05:37 PM

I forgot to mention my family loved these! I thought they were very good, but they tasted too much of hoisin..... :blink:

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