Stuffed buns are any bread filled with a sweet or savory filling. It can be baked, fried, or steamed depending on its country of origin. But did you know that stuffed buns started as steamed buns in Northern China? Originally called as “Baozi” (包子), they are originally wheat-based buns stuffed with meat and vegetable, then steamed for a couple of minutes.
Like other types of bread, every country has its stuffed buns. The Philippines has their version called “Siopao,” a similar stuffed bun with Chinese and Spanish origins. Kolache, a sweet or savory stuffed bun from Slovakia and the Czech Republic, is popular among Texans.
Stuffed Bun Trivia
- China is home to many types of stuffed buns. The most common one is the Baozi but the Chinese have regional stuffed buns that traditional ingredients and flavors. Mantou is one of the plain buns which has evolved to include stuffing such as brown sugar, green onions, and sweet potatoes.
- Stuffed buns have expanded from Asia to Europe. Bierocks is a hand-held pastry dough stuffed with a vegetable and meat filling. It originated in Russia but was highly adapted and popularized in Germany.
Stuffed Bun Buying Guide
Stuffed buns are available in your local bakeries and grocery stores. It’s best to get the handmade buns from artisan bakers as they can give you more authentic flavors with a generous filling and a good bun dough ration.
If you want to steam or bake your stuffed buns, frozen buns are available in all groceries and supermarkets. You can choose the dessert buns with custard, pastry cream, and red bean fillings, or you can select the savory buns with vegetarian, pork, lamb, beef, and chicken fillings.
Stuffed Bun Production & Farming in Texas
Asian immigrants in Texas have forged their presence and established a strong Asian-American community over the years. As a tight-knit community, they have maintained their strong values and incredible work ethic allowing them to flourish over the years. Asian cuisine has been spreading in Texas from one family to another, and some Asian immigrants also established their bakeries, restaurants, and micro-businesses promoting their cuisines. Thus, you can buy freshly made stuffed buns from Asian restaurants and be guaranteed to taste authentic flavors passed from generations.
Different types of frozen buns are available in the supermarket, but they don’t have the same flavors and textures as handmade ones. Commercially produced frozen buns have excessive amounts of salt, sugar, and preservatives which are not necessary for stuffed buns as they’re meant to be eaten right away, even when it’s steaming hot, even if it will burn your fingers and your tongue. That’s just the Asian way of doing it. So, honor your Asian bakeries and buy stuffed buns from them.
Preservatives and Chemicals
Commercially made stuffed buns contain potentially harmful ingredients such as
Potassium phosphate, palm oil shortening, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium acid propionate, sodium benzoate, and other salts derived from flavorings such as soy sauce, soy bean paste, and sake.
Freshy made stuffed buns can just be eaten with bare hands, it can be simply wrapped in sandwich bags to prevent your fingers from burning as freshly baked stuffed buns are hot and steamy.
Frozen stuffed buns are packaged in airtight plastic wraps to prevent air from contaminating the buns.
Enjoying Stuffed Buns
People have always preferred to eat freshly baked stuffed buns when it’s piping hot out from the steamer and the oven. They’re the perfect on-the-go meal, always filling and satisfying Depending n the cooking technique, stuffed buns can have a soft, fluffy, and bouncy dough or a crispy exterior.
Store the cooked stuffed buns in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days, or freeze them for up to 4-6 months. Thaw the frozen buns into room temperature and do the same with the refrigerated stuffed buns before steaming or baking.
CHINESE STUFFED BUNS
Make these delicious, classic Dimsum staples at your home.
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup water
½ cup warm water
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
½ teaspoon baking powder
- Mix together yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and 1/4 cup warm water. Allow to stand for 30 minutes.
- Mix in 1/2 cup warm water, flour, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and vegetable oil. Knead until dough surface is smooth and elastic. Roll over in a greased bowl, and let stand until triple in size, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
- Punch down dough, and spread out on a floured board. Sprinkle baking powder evenly on surface, and knead for 5 minutes. Divide dough into 2 parts, and place the piece you are not working with in a covered bowl. Divide each half into 12 parts. Shape each part into a ball with smooth surface up. Put each ball on a wax paper square. Let stand covered until double, about 30 minutes.
- Bring water to a boil in wok, and reduce heat to medium; the water should still be boiling. Place steam-plate on a small wire rack in the middle of the wok. Transfer as many buns on wax paper as will comfortably fit onto steam-plate leaving 1 to 2 inches between the buns. At least 2 inches space should be left between steam-plate and the wok. Cover wok with lid. Steam buns over boiling water for 15 minutes.
- Remove the lid before you turn off heat, or else water will drip back onto bun surface and produce yellowish “blisters” on bun surfaces. Continue steaming batches of buns until all are cooked.