Wholemeal Pau with Red Bean Filling
200 grams pau flour (note 1)
50 grams wholemeal flour (note 1)
3 grams instant yeast
3 grams baking powder (sieved)
40 grams sugar
130 grams water
10 grams salad oil (or vegetable oil)
250 grams red bean paste (homemade or ready-made)
- Dissolve instant yeast in water.
- Combine sugar, flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add in the yeast mixture. Stir to combine until no traces of flour. Add in oil and knead until a rough dough is formed (note 3).
- Transfer the dough onto a working surface and continue kneading until it is no longer sticky but soft and smooth (note 3).
- Place the dough in a bowl and covered with cling wrap. Let it rest for 10 minutes in room temperature.
- Meanwhile, divide the red bean paste into 9 equal portions (about 27 grams) and shape into balls.
- After resting the dough, remove it from the bowl. On a working surface, roll the dough into a log shape and divide into 9 equal portions (about 47 grams). Knead each piece until smooth, deflate it (meaning collapsing all the air pockets formed) and shape into a ball. Seal the bottom. Repeat the same for the remaining portions.
- Take one ball, flatten it lightly with hand and use a rolling pin to roll it out into circle. Flip it over and roll it out carefully such that the center is thinner and the peripheral rim thinner. This will prevent the filling from leaking during steaming. Repeat the same for the remaining balls. This will ensure each pau has about 5 minutes of resting time before moving to step 8.
- Take a piece of the flatten dough and place one red bean paste ball (from step 5) onto it. Bring the edges together and pinch the top to seal the filling completely. Place it onto a piece of square baking paper, seam side down (so that they have a smooth and round top) and transfer to the steaming basket. Repeat the same for the remaining dough. Keep the pau apart from each other, allowing rooms from all sides.
- Cover with lid and place a pan filled with water underneath. Proof until the pau have slightly expanded, soft and fluffy to the touch for about 25 minutes. The proofing time varies depending on the temperature in the kitchen. If you use your finger tip to press lightly the surface of the pau, the depression will slowly disappear. This means the pau are ready for steaming.
- Steam the pau for 17-18 minutes, starting from cold water, with medium heat. When the water starts boiling, reduce heat to medium low. 2-3 minutes before the steaming ends, open the lid slightly to lower the steam pressure so that the surface of the pau will not wrinkle. Once it’s done, off the heat, let the pau sit inside the steamer for another 5 minutes. This will ensure they do not shrink due to a sudden change of temperature.
- Open the lid, transfer the steamer away from the water and let the pau cool down. Best to serve warm. If consume the next day, store inside an air-tight container and keep in the fridge. They can also be kept inside freezer bags and be frozen up to 3 months. To reheat them, remove from the freezer and steam (with or without defrost) for 3-5 minutes or until the inside is hot.
- Pau flour is a specialty flour used in making Chinese steamed buns. It gives the pau softer and fluffy texture. For making pau, pau flour is commonly used in Malaysia whereas in Singapore is Hong Kong flour. If you can’t find either one, you can substitute it with plain flour (all purpose flour).
- Instead of adding wholemeal flour, you can use entirely pau flour, Hong Kong flour or plain flour. Do take note that increasing the amount of wholemeal flour will make the texture of the pau harder.
- Try not to add extra flour when kneading the dough as it will make the texture of the pau harder.
- I knead the dough by hands but you can do it with bread making machine or kitchen mixer (with a dough hook).
- Try to complete step 6-8 as quick as you can so that all the paus are proofed equally.
- If you use a stainless steel steaming rack, cover the lid with cloth to prevent water dripping onto the pau.
- I bought my 12” bamboo steamer from a local shop selling kitchenware (Pembekal Peralatan Dapur Gas – Lee Poh Wah) at Jalan Kepong, Kuala Lumpur.
- With this dough, you can wrap it with or without filling. You can wrap the pau with any filling of choice, be it sweet or savoury. You can also make it into mantao.
- For beginners, it is best to keep the ratio of dough to filling at 2: 1 to ensure easy wrapping.
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