Chinese Steamed Buns
adapted from Chef Nicole Plue's recipe at SF Cooking School
Cuisine: Chinese
Serves: about 18 buns
  • 287 g whole milk
  • 56 g unsalted butter
  • 9 g instant yeast
  • 85 g sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 582 g all purpose flour
  • 15 g salt
  • sesame oil for brushing
  • 2 to 3 stalks lemongrass
  • 4 to 6 oz fresh ginger
  1. Combine milk and butter in a saucepan or microwave-proof measuring cup and heat to 100 degrees F. Do not overheat or it will be too hot for the yeast and kill it. Pour into bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Add yeast to bowl and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add sugar, egg, flour, and salt to bowl. Mix on medium low speed with paddle attachment for about 2 minutes until completely combined. The dough will be rough and shaggy looking still but it should stick together when you press it together. It should be tacky but not overly sticky.
  4. Turn out dough into an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in warm spot in kitchen and let rise until doubled in size, about an hour to hour and a half.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 oz pieces with a knife. Form them into balls and then roll them out flat with a rolling pin into an oval shape.
  6. Brush the tops of the dough with sesame oil and then fold in half. Place each bun on a parchment square.
  7. Arrange the buns on a tray, loosely cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for another 15-20 minutes until they look puffy and spring back to the touch.
  8. During the second rise, prepare a wooden or metal steamer by filling the bottom portion with water. Coarsely chop the lemongrass and ginger and place in the water.
  9. Arrange buns in the steamer, cover, and steam for 5 minutes. You may need to adjust the level of steam or steaming time based on your particular steamer setup. Open up a bun to test - if the inside is still raw, steam for a little longer and turn up the heat for the next batch. If the buns are shriveled and wrinkly, they are oversteamed. Reduce the heat for the next batch and check a little sooner.
  10. Serve buns immediately or refrigerate for up to a week and re-steam to serve.
Recipe by Dessert First at