* Baked BBQ Buns – “Chan Bao”

Posted on April 8th, 2011 by Linda. Filed under Bake, Breakfast, Cantonese, Chinese, Cuisine, Dim Sum, Snack, Soy sauce, Stir Fry, Street Foods.

We had the sequel to a dim sum class last week at Sur La Table, perhaps the finale of the dim sum classes since Sur La Table is closing its cooking school in San Francisco with their move to the glitzy mall in May.  We will miss the quaint Maiden Lane location, and even more the cooking classes and smell of food while you shop.  I believe, if you look at marketing psychology, the good food smell must have increased sales uptake.  I will continue my Asian classes at the Cooking School at Cavallo Point starting May.  Please join me there.  It’s just across the GG Bridge and they have a spectacular kitchen and awesome views of the city.

Anyhoos, during the class, we made the non-steam items….you know, the items that the restaurant really tries to push the sale because these items can be made in advance, and hence help the restaurant keep peak demand at bay.   We baked, steamed, pan fried.  BBQ Pork buns are really one of my favorite snacks.  The pastry is also a yeast dough pastry, but a tad richer with the addition of milk and butter.  The bun recipe is from my sister, and she entitled it – Delicious White Bread.  Sort of an oxymoron.

Chef’s tip: If you are looking for  other steam items, I have many dim sum recipes on this site, too, including the steamed BBQ Pork bun.  Also, when you are proofing the dough, a good way to test for readiness is the finger test.  When it doesn’t spring back, it’s ready.  Look at the steamed BBQ Pork bun recipe for details on this test.  This recipe makes 24 buns which is just right as they freeze really well.  To reheat, just pop them into the microwave under defrost.


1/4  cup sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons kosher salt

4 ½ cups bread flour

Part 1: Prepare the dough

1.     Proofing the yeast: Dissolve sugar in hot water.  Add cold water to make a warm solution (105 – 115°F).  Dissolve the yeast in the sugar solution.  Stir lightly, and let stand in a warm place until mixture develops a creamy foam, about 7 minutes. (If mixture doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
2.     Making the sponge: In a large bowl, add 1 ½ cups of flour to the yeast mixture and stir to incorporate the flour. Cover with a tea towel and let rise for 30 minutes or until bubbles are breaking on the surface and the sponge begin to fall.
3.     In another bowl, combine the melted butter with the milk and salt.  Warm the mixture till luke warm about 90°F. Pour mixture into the sponge when 30 minutes is up, mixing well with a wooden spoon.
4.     Next, add remaining 4½ cups of flour, a cup at a time until dough holds together and just come away from side of bowl.
5.     Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead.  Lightly flour your hands if necessary.  Knead (by using the heels of your hands and your body weight to push away from you, pull it back and fold in the sides of the dough towards the center.  Turn the dough right angle every few kneads) until dough is smooth, soft, and elastic, about 10 minutes. Dough should be slightly sticky. Form into a ball.
6.     Transfer dough to a very lightly oiled bowl.  Cover the bowl tightly with a plastic wrap/damp tea cloth and let dough rise in a warm (75-80°F), draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.  The dough is ready when it does not spring back when poked with a finger.

Part 2: Finishing the dough – Using the dough
7.     Uncover the dough, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface.
8.     Knead lightly to form a ball.  Divide the dough into 4 cylinders about 2 inch thick.  Cut each into 6.  Make 24 2-inch ball portions.  Cover dough with a damp tea cloth as you work.
9.     Proceed with dumpling recipes.



2 Tablespoons oyster sauce
2 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
3 Tablespoons Chinese rice wine / sherry
5 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water

1 1/4 lb BBQ pork (char siu), diced small ¼ inch cubes
1/2 cup dried onion flakes soaked in ¼ cup of water
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds, roasted

24 pieces of 2 x 2 parchment paper

1 egg, beaten with 1 Tablespoon water

3 Tablespoons honey, warmed with 2 Tablespoons water

Preheat oven 400°F

Preparing the filling
1.     Mix all the sauce ingredients (oyster sauce, hoisin, soy, sesame oil, wine, sugar, cornstarch and water) together in a bowl.  Heat he mixture in a saucepan. Stir till slightly thickened.
2.     Add the diced pork to the saucepan.  Cook on low until the sauce glazes the pork.  Add the reconstituted dried onion and sesame seeds and toss together to mix.  Let the filling cool before proceeding.
3.     Take a dough portion, work into a round ball about 2- inch in diameter.  Flatten it into a 5-inch round with a rolling pin about 3/8 inch thick. Make sure the edges are half as thin as the center.
4.     Place a heaping Tablespoon of filling into dough.  Pull the sides to meet at the center, making a ruffled fold as you work.  Pinch the top together and give it a twist to seal.  Pinch off any extra dough at the top.  Place upside down onto a piece of waxed paper and place the finished bun on a baking sheet.  Cover the filled buns loosely with a damp tea towel or plastic wrap and let it rise 15-20 minutes or until it doubles in size.
5.     Preheat oven 400°F.
6.     Brush the top of the bun with the eggwash.  Transfer to the oven and bake at 400°F for 10 mins, reduce heat to 375°F and bake another 20 minutes.
7.     Remove from oven and brush with the honey glaze.

Serves: 24 buns

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4 Responses to “Baked BBQ Buns – “Chan Bao””

  1. SuLee Says:

    This is great! Course mine didn’t look so good but they tasted good and they were gone within 10 mins! Need to try the steamed char siu another day.

    Btw, I love your recipe blog. I unfortunately don’t have the time (or patience) try everything out but what I have tried turns out!! Really good (also to be able to eat more authentic dishes once in a while). Real happy my sis told me about this.

  2. A. L. Wiebe Says:

    Ah ha! I just left a post for the steamed Chan Bao, then found this one for the baked ones, lol. I will try these, as I can get more of them in my oven than in the steamer basket. Again, the filling is amazing!

  3. Delicious Baked White Buns – Chinese “Chan Bao” « Rice Kernel Says:

    […] Delicious Baked White Buns, from Flavor Explosions […]

  4. Mscinda Says:

    Wonderful recipe. Thanks for the food inspiration. I made these today for Mother’s Day and they turned out great. Baking times were different for me. I baked them at lower temps and lesser time.

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